Nearly a million new jobs were created last year, and women didn't even get 50,000 of them, according to Labor Department Statistics. Women were given only 47,000 of the 984,000 jobs created between January 2010 and January 2011, to be exact.*
That just about eats up any consolation women were taking from the fact that they didn't get hit as hard by layoffs. Seven out of 10 job losses during the economic downturn were suffered by men.
And to add insult to injury, other new finding show that women account for nearly half of the nation's overall work force but hold only 6 percent of corporate CEO and high-level executive roles. That's according to new research from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
There is hope, however. One key to career advancement for women may lie in the gender makeup of a company's corporate board. The study found a higher representation of women on a company's board of directors directly increases the female share of, and access to, higher positions within the company.
"Unfortunately, there are still institutional gender barriers in today's workplace that prevent women from holding high-level executive positions," said David Matsa, assistant professor of finance at the Kellogg School. "Our research uncovers the impact of 'women helping women' at the highest level of company leadership. Women who hold board positions have a unique opportunity to propel their female colleagues into executive roles, so in effect when women's share of board seats increases, their share of top level positions also increases."
"In addition, we also found that as a board's gender composition evolved and increased its number of female seats, over time the likelihood that these boards would select female managers also increased," said Matsa. "However, this gender shift can take multiple years. Our research shows that while the female share of board seats may increase the desire to hire other female executives, there is a lag time for women to achieve these roles probably because the positions are currently occupied by qualified candidates."
Matsa summarized, "Overall, the results show that women are each other's best advocates, and by helping one another they have the potential to make remarkable gains in today's work force."
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*The study, "Chipping Away at the Glass Ceiling: Gender Spillovers in Corporate Leadership," will be published in the May 2011 issue of The American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings.