While economists disagree about why women are paid less and promoted into executive positions less frequently than men - a topic that I'll explore another day - the fact is: it's true. Let me start with an example from my company's industry.
Technology is one of the fastest growing industries in the US. At the forefront of innovation, tech companies embrace non-traditional business models and promote diverse employees, you'd expect. If you agree, you would be wrong. Even though 20 women, a new record, are CEO's of Fortune 500 companies, women still face challenges advancing in the tech industry.
According to the National Center for Women and Information Technology, women make up only 6% of chief executives at the top 100 tech companies. Yet, a Catalyst study reported (sorry, behind a pay wall) that Fortune 500 companies with three or more women on the Board outperform other companies with 53% more returns on equities, 42% more return on sales and 66% more return invested capital.
"Additionally, the two largest Fortune 500 corporations are led by women, HP's Meg Whitman and IBM's Ginny Rometty and fifteen of Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women are leaders in the technology industry," according to Susan Lucas-Conwell (pictured), who is the Global Chief Executive Officer at Great Place to Work®.
She says further that, "women in top executive positions are a movement that can't be ignored and tech companies will need to revamp their organizations to stay at the forefront of innovation."
Looking across industries, employers are taking steps to make sure that the promotion of women is commonplace. Lucas-Conwell, in a recent interview with me, recommends steps that both women and their corporations can take to make sure that women are given fair and equitable opportunities. See our interview.
Update: From the Wall Street Journal, five ways women can break through the glass ceiling.
Image Copyright Susan Lucas-Conwell
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