Tag: equality

Liz Bolshaw

’Tis the season, not of mists, but of lists: 12 days of Christmas; three kings; 10 most valuable chief executives.

George Paz (chief executive of St Louis-based pharmacy benefit manager, Express Scripts), Steve Jobs (the late chief executive of Apple) and Louis Camilleri (Philip Morris International) all feature in the top 10 of an end-of-year ranking of chief executives (rated by how much wealth they have created for their companies). There are no prizes for guessing what is missing.

In fact you have to scroll down to number 111 before you find a female chief executive – Carol Meyrowitz, of TJX, the discount retailer, and 14th in the FT’s top 50 women in business.

The list, compiled by Chief Executive, the US magazine, ranks chief executives of Fortune 500 companies by a set of financial performance metrics including total shareholder return, for the 36 months to June 30 2011 and ranks only those who have been in post for the whole three years.

In spite of all the efforts to support women’s careers, and all the research that shows diversity to be a performance advantage, the fact remains that too few women are making it to the top.

Research by Catalyst, a non-profit organisation focusing on women and work issues, discussed here, reveals that only 3.2 per cent of the chief executives of Fortune 500 companies are women – 17 of the 500. In fact the percentage of female chief executives of Fortune 500 companies has increased only from 0.2 per cent in 1995 to 3.2 per cent today.

Change takes time. In 1890 no woman on the planet had a vote, and it took a century for universal suffrage to spread to 96 per cent of countries (1994).

This is my 168th post for this blog since we launched on October 13 last year. In that time I have written some 60,000 words on the general subject of diversity and women in leadership and interviewed academics, researchers, chief executives and policymakers. There is far more consensus than disagreement: only the question of compulsory quotas has engendered real debate.

We have learnt that even in countries that have significantly broadened women’s access to high-paid positions, this does not necessarily translate into the boardroom. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010), women occupy more than 50 per cent of high-paying management and professional positions, but just 16.1 per cent of board seats.

We have also discovered there is no correlation between economic development and diversity. In Europe, where not quite 12 per cent of board members are female, women hold 17 per cent of board positions in Bulgaria and Latvia.

As I watch the mounting excitement of my sons and daughter as Christmas approaches, I hope that by the time they make their career choices a decade from now, this blog will appear a quaint irrelevance.

Happy holidays to all our readers.

 

Rebecca Knight

My colleagues and I here at the FT’s Women at the Top blog have written a great deal about the persistent pay gap between men and women – and the various reasons for it. (more…)

Liz Bolshaw

First, the good news. The Chartered Management Institute’s yearly salary survey published on Wednesday shows that junior female executives in the UK are earning as much as their male counterparts for the first time in the survey’s 38-year history.

Now, the bad news. Looking at the overall picture of 34,158 executives surveyed (including directors), men continue to be paid almost a third more than women doing the same jobs – and the gap is slightly wider than last year. (more…)

Liz Bolshaw

It may be more than 200 years since the Jacobins ran through the streets of Paris to the rallying cry of “Liberté, egalité, fraternité, ou la mort”, but while these principles still underpin our ideas of civilised society, their interpretation remains the subject of fierce debate. (more…)

Liz Bolshaw

A few months ago, this blog asked: do you have to be a guy to be a geek? The question has been raised again several times in the past week.

Maija Palmer, writing in the FT, explores possible reasons why fewer women are pursuing careers in technology than a decade ago. “Women accounted for just 18 per cent of UK technology professionals in 2010, down from 22 per cent in 2001,” she notes.

Writing for Edge magazine recently, Clint Hocking, creative director at LucasArts, the gaming company founded by film director George Lucas, makes a plea for more women to enter the games development industry – in particular to provide “balance”. (more…)

Liz Bolshaw

Here’s a conundrum: do expectations drive outcomes or do outcomes shape expectations? (more…)

Rebecca Knight

It is a new corporate reality that in order to retain talented women, companies must offer flexible work arrangements. These practices – from variable hours to telecommuting and part-time employment – enable workers, women and men alike, to strike a better balance between office obligations and home life. (more…)

Liz Bolshaw

The former BUPA boss Val Gooding is taking on the chairmanship of engineering services group Premier Farnell, supporting chief executive Harriet Green and with her becoming that rare thing in the corporate world – an all-female chair and chief executive team. (more…)

Liz Bolshaw

For all the jokes about “man flu”, a new study shows men take fewer days off sick than women. The average man, the research indicates, takes 140 sick days during his career, while a woman calls in sick 189 times. (more…)

On May 11, the Financial Times publishes the next Women at the Top page as part of its flagship project on female business leadership. (more…)

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