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Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Findings from the 2011 Catalyst Census: Fortune 500 Women Board Directors, Executive Officers and Top Earners, indicates that gender equity at the most senior ranks of corporate America remains elusive. Despite some reports that women are hanging on to jobs at a better rate then men, a glimpse at business leadership reflects a workforce in which women remain at the middle and bottom rungs, with a continuing gender gap at the top ranks no better than six years ago. Among the Fortune 500 companies, only 16% of board seats, 14% of Executive Officer positions, and only 7.5% of top earners represented by women. Across all parameters, the trends remain flat. For example:
• Less than one-fifth of companies had 25% or more women board directors
• About one in ten companies had no women serving on their boards.
• Women of color held only 3% of board seats
• Women held only 7.5% of Executive Officer top earner positions, while men accounted for 92.5% of top earners
• Nearly one in five companies had 25% or more women Executive Officers and more than one-quarter had zero
Another Catalyst report, The Bottom Line: Corporate Performance and Women's Representation on Boards (2004–2008), reflects that gender diversity in the boardroom correlates with better corporate performance, such that Companies with three or more women board directors in four of five years, on average, outperformed companies with zero women board directors—by 84% for return on sales, 60% for return on invested capital, and 46% for return on equity. Given these findings, Catalyst challenges corporations to 'harness American "can-do" spirit to make action synonymous with commitment to achieve gender parity and enable a wealth of talented women to advance and contribute.'