In the article you will find some basic information on Gender Equality in Top-Level Management. Without doubt, women have come a long way in being accepted in upper management. The gap does seem to be narrowing and there are many stories in corporate America which seem to prove that women have reached their rightful place in business. Looking at some of the more high profile leaders like Meg Whitman and the money she made during her reign at eBay, certainly makes it sound like females are being paid equal to their male counterparts.
Furthermore, there are many women who head their own conglomerates in the cosmetics, fashion and entertainment worlds. Not to diminish their accomplishments in any way because they have achieved unbelievable feats, but the fact is they had to start their own companies. Why? Because when these women started out, it definitely would have been taboo to hire a female in a top-level management position, much less the CEO spot.
It is true today that the number of females in the work force far surpasses males, but realistically speaking, many of these are low-level and entry level jobs. Even women that are educated are accepting jobs below their stature just to get in the door and hopefully advance. But being promoted is not as easy as it seems even with the experience and the education.
Catalyst “is the leading nonprofit membership organization working globally with businesses and the professions to build inclusive workplaces and expand opportunities for women and business”. They have offices in the US, Canada and Europe and have been around since 1962, so they are considered professionals in their field. According to some of the data they have compiled from the SEC in the US (Securities and Exchange Commission), the numbers really are not that favorable toward women, and prove that they have not made the type of progress that people believe. In fact, it will still take many years to reach parity at the present rate of growth.
Here is a brief summary of what Catalyst discovered in 2009:
- less than 3% of Fortune 1000 companies have female CEOs
- where 90% of companies had one female director, only 20% had three or more
- women of color have lost ground over last year
- even where women have made inroads, the percentages remain the same rather than growing.
The truth is that some of the positions were filled as token positions. That is NOT to say the women were not qualified, as they more than justly deserved those positions, but companies want to appear as though they have moved forward, when in fact they have not. They are not growing, they are stagnating, and in some instances they are regressing.
And what is even more shocking, as America’s white population dwindles and census reports predict that people of all colors will be the majority in the US, women of color, still have not had the same advantages as white women. Basically, barriers and racism are still strong. Since women of color are a large portion of the female group, then progress remains largely meaningless.
Lastly, although prominent female CEOs such as Oprah earn billions of dollars, typically, most women in senior positions are paid less than male counterparts. Generally speaking, their credentials had to be that much higher and yet they make less money.
So, does gender equality exist in top-level management? Sometimes but not enough!