Re:Gender works to end gender inequity and discrimination against girls and women by exposing root causes and advancing research-informed action. Working with multiple sectors and disciplines, we are shaping a world that demands fairness across difference.
The recession further undermined many efforts to develop women’s leadership, particularly in the corporate world, where diversity initiatives were often seen as an optional luxury whose budgets were the first to be slashed when financial cutbacks were imposed. “With the economic downturn, it has become okay not to focus on practices and invest in programs that support women,” says Linda Basch, president of the National Council for Research on Women.
Data from the Graduate Management Admissions Council indicates that more women are working towards MBAs than ever before.
According to the GMAC, women accounted for 41 percent of the close to 259,000 people who took the Graduate Management Admission Test in 2011, which is a requirement for most MBA programs. The number of exams taken by women was 106,800, marking the sixth consecutive year of growth for women test-takers. This was also the third year in a row that over 100,000 women took the exam.
In the United States, women took nearly 46,000 exams -- the largest number out of any country in the world. The greatest percentage of women who took the GMAT, however, was in China, where 64 percent, or about 33,000, of those who sat for the test were women.
Nevertheless, the GMAC research also found that female MBAs who graduated from 2000 to 2011 and are working full-time earned just 81 percent of what their male counterparts did.
Women last year accounted for 41 percent of the 258,192 people taking the Graduate Management Admission Test, or GMAT, which is a requirement for most MBA programs. That represents the sixth consecutive year of growth in women taking the test, the Graduate Management Admissions Council said this week. The number of men taking the exam fell for a third year in a row to 151,392.
In the United States, 39 percent of test takers were women, but in east Asia, women led the way. In China 64 percent of test takers were women. Overall about 117,000 test takers were Americans, compared with about 58,000 who were from east and southwast Asia.
In the United States “we’re not seeing the women in business schools that would be expected,” given that women now make up half the U.S. workforce, said Michelle Sparkman Renz, director of research for the council. It’s unclear why more women aren’t flocking to U.S. business schools, but clearly the corporate world has yet to embrace women in management.
You’re familiar with the stereotype: humorless, ever so slightly imperious, Birkenstock-wearing brown-rice enthusiasts. These are the women of NPR, forever etched into America’s collective consciousness by Alec Baldwin, Ana Gasteyer, and Molly Shannon in a classic Saturday Night Live skit known as “Schweddy Balls.” Despite its reputation for earnestness, the organization seems to be in on the joke. Even Nina Totenberg, the longtime justice reporter whose legendarily soothing voice almost surely provided inspiration, laughs about it. “I like that Saturday Night Live makes fun of us,” she says. “It’s better to be noticed than not noticed at all.”
Today Totenberg is the dean of the Supreme Courtpress corps; NPR progamming reaches an audience of nearly 23 million—a 70 percent increase from 1998, the year the skit first aired—and has more foreign bureaus than any other American broadcast network. But it hasn’t always been that way, and Totenberg knows what it means to go unnoticed. She joined the fledgling broadcaster in the early 1970s, when it was carried by just 90 stations (that number has since increased a hundredfold). It was a period in which most news outlets were openly hostile to the very notion of hiring a female correspondent. “All of us have stories of being told, outright, ‘We don’t hire women’ or ‘We have our woman,’” she says.
In part, Totenberg says, NPR had no choice: salaries were so low that few men were willing to take jobs there. The inadvertent result was a roster of young female talent now considered among the most respected names in radio: Totenberg, Cokie Roberts, Linda Wertheimer, and Susan Stamberg, a group affectionately known as the “Founding Mothers.” “It was a novel experience, being looked after [by colleagues] and not being hit on,” Totenberg says. The Old Girls’ Club, as she calls them, sat in a corner of the newsroom the men referred to as “the fallopian jungle,” and swiftly became the broadcaster’s earliest stars. In 1972, Stamberg became the first woman in the country to anchor a daily national news show.
At a stellar gathering of leaders from business, philanthropy, government, and non-profits, the National Council for Research on Women will kick off 30 years of transforming the way the world looks at women and girls at its annual Making a Difference for Women Awards Dinner on Tuesday, March 6th. The Council will honor: Beth Brooke of Ernst & Young; Abigail Disney, Pamela Hogan, and Gini Retiker of the Women, War & Peace series on PBS; Anita Hill of Brandeis University; and Soledad O’Brien of CNN at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.
On our 30th Anniversary we are recognizing 30 stellar women from diverse corners of our broad network who through their efforts have advanced women’s issues, promoted women’s leadership and changed the way the world views women and girls. All have been nominated by their peers for their outstanding work.
Aileen Lee argues that by adding new blood to the boardroom, companies get a four-fer, or more: 1) gender diversity, and in most cases, age diversity around the table; 2) better understanding of core customers; 3) Social-Mobile-Local expertise and insight into digital platforms like Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, Twitter, Path, Square, Flipboard and Pinterest that are fundamentally changing business; and 4) hyper growth and rapid innovation DNA.
Why should we care? For one, women are the power users of many products and it’s just smart business to have an understanding of key customers around the table. Could you imagine a game company without any gamers on the leadership team or board?
If you’re not aware, studies also show companies with gender diversity at the top drive better financial performance on multiple measures – for example, 36% better stock price growth and 46% better return on equity. And, studies show the more women, the better the results. This is likely because teams with more females demonstrate higher collective intelligence and better problem solving ability. So it’s probably not a coincidence the world’s most admired companies have more women on their boards than the average company.