Who's the Boss? Not a Woman

Who's the Boss Women make up 51 percent of the population, but according to a new study by Catalyst, 85 percent of companies in the Fortune 500 ranking have no women on their governing boards. That means 85 percent of companies, including Gap Inc, Fidelity, and Dick's Sporting Goods don't have women contributing to their board-level leadership.

"Corporate America needs to get 'unstuck' when it comes to advancing women to leadership," said Ilene Lang, Catalyst president and chief executive officer. "This is our fifth report where the annual change in female leadership remained flat. If this trend line represented a patient's pulse, she'd be dead."

Companies with more than 25 percent of women on their Boards of Directors include several that consider women as their main target customers, such as Estee Lauder, Avon, and Macy's. However, companies such as Xerox, Pepsi, and Quest Diagnostics also claim that 30-40 percent of their boards are comprised of woman.

Catalyst, a nonprofit organization that aims to build inclusive workplaces and expand opportunities for women, released the '2010 Catalyst Census: Fortune 500 Women Board of Directors' as well as their '2010 Catalyst Census: Fortune 500 Women Executive Officers and Top Earners' this week.

The corner office

When it comes to executive positions, women can be encouraged by the fact that more than two-thirds of all companies had one woman executive officer. And over time, that number has been increasing -- a good thing. However, when it comes to the largest companies, the Fortune 500, only 14 percent of women had similar positions.

Companies including Apple, Bed Bath & Beyond, Citigroup & Costco have no women executives. However, Gap Inc, which has no women on its board, boasts 50 percent of its executive positions are held by women. H&R Block, Limited Brands, and TIAA-CREF also have around 50 percent of their executive positions filled by women.

"Jump-starting women's advancement takes commitment fueled by urgency," Lang said. "Our research points to a solution that can narrow the gender leadership gap and supercharge the leadership pool, making corporate America more competitive in the process."

Take me to your mentor

You'd think a role model in the workplace could only help a person advance. But Catalyst found, in 'Mentoring: Necessary But Insufficient for Advancement,' that men get more out of mentoring relationships than women. Men received 21 percent more in compensation per promotion, after having been mentored, while women's compensation increased by only 2 percent per promotion. Women, however, benefited from "sponsorships" (specific and guided opportunities), as opposed to simply receiving basic career advice from a mentor.

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I am a woman owned business person and have been for over 30 years, but I still do not get any respect. Sometimes you'll hear someone say "Oh a woman ownes a Company that should be run by a Man", who say that? Woman can out work men any day and it's been a provine fact, just ask me, running an Asphalt business for 32 years, but again like I said above, No Respect, at least not by men. I'm 65 years old and still going strong.....................

May 19 2011 at 12:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

sorry, but as a woman, I prefer to work for a man. They keep their emotions in check, do not get caught up in petty jealousy, etc.

Men get the job done!

December 22 2010 at 5:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Governing boards for the most part only rubber stamp what the executives have decided to do. It is the executive positions that have the real power. However, in my work life, I have noticed women are more likely to point out embarrassing facts and issues in meetings, while men more frequently just go along with the status quo. We want to be team players. (Yes, I am a man. Just calling 'em as I see 'em.) I think more women on governing boards might make more of an issue of obscene executive pay packages. Any women on Goldman Sachs board? That would be a good place to raise hell.

December 22 2010 at 9:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have one more piece of info I'd like researched....of the women executives how many are "Marketing VPs." My guess...all of them. I am a women in business, and I've worked for 2 fortune 500 companies. They like to have at least 1 "token" female on the exec staff, but it's always a marketing VP....never finance, supply & logistics, etc. In my opinion the next step for women in business is to fight for leadership roles outside of Sales or Marketing.

December 22 2010 at 8:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to BNS's comment
Jack Jackson

Or the real female boss swamp, HR.

December 22 2010 at 9:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
All the Facts

I do agree that there should be more women Executives, but in the article it says 51% of the "POPULATION" is women I really don't care about that. I would be more interested in the percentage the women make up the work force in these companies, then we could truly get an idea on how unfair our society is.

December 22 2010 at 2:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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