The largest companies in the U.S. – those with gross annual revenues of at least $20 billion – report a larger representation of women and other underrepresented groups on their boards of directors. Seventy percent have at least two women and 53 percent have two or more directors from underrepresented groups. Women managers, however, are increasingly opting out of high-end careers when companies fail to meet their professional needs and goals. Fewer than 15 percent of Fortune 500 officers and directors are women, and graduate business schools (unlike law and medical schools) have far fewer women than men applicants. NCRW is supporting efforts to make the corporate environment more welcoming and the career ladder more accessible to women and people of color.

Building a Pipeline to Women's Leadership

NCRW held an expert panel on February 28, 2011 at American Express with senior leaders from business, government, and academia to explore the case for, barriers to, and action steps needed to expand the number of women in leadership positions. While many overt barriers to women’s advancement have been largely dismantled, and the pipeline to leadership is filled with highly qualified women, the embedded prejudices in our institutions and culture as well as the expectations women have for their professional and personal lives, especially younger women, still pose challenges.

Gender Imbalance in the Boardroom: Opportunities to Change Course

The ION 2011 Status Report on women directors and executive officers of public companies provides a breadth and depth of regional information not available anywhere else. It addresses the issue of board turnover and the extent to which public companies continue to miss significant opportunities to increase the gender diversity of their boards. “Gender Imbalance in the Boardroom: Opportunities to Change Course” includes data from Fortune 500 companies in 14 geographic areas, as well as hundreds of small and mid-cap businesses that comprise the backbone of U.S. regional economies. Now in its eighth year, the 2011 ION report also offers nominating committees, sitting directors and executive recruiters specific suggestions on how they can increase the momentum of change.


The Bottom Line: Corporate Performance and Women’s Representation on Boards (2004-2008)

 The Bottom Line: Corporate Performance and Women’s Representation on Boards (2004–2008) is the fourth in Catalyst’s Business Case series. The business case for women in management contends that companies that achieve diversity and manage it well attain better financial results, on average, than other companies. In this report, Catalyst used three measures to examine financial performance: return on sales (ROS), return on invested capital (ROIC), and return on equity (ROE).

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