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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Women gaining little ground

I am horrified but not surprised at a report released yesterday by Catalyst, a non-profit organization that benefits women. Catalyst tracked the number of women in top jobs of Fortune 500 companies over the last decade. It found women continue to be severely underrepresented in top corporate leadership positions. The study found that most large U.S. companies have failed to make progress in advancing women and especially women of color.
If this rate of progress continues, it could take 40 years for women to achieve parity with men in corporate officer positions, the study found.
In my homestate of Florida, only 13 percent of top management at Fortune 500 companies are women. That's 27 women out of 208 top jobs at Florida's large public companies. Darden Restaurants, Publix Supermarkets, Office Depot and Ryder Systems had at least four women in top executive jobs.
The 2005 Catalyst Census of Women Corporate Officers and Top Earners of the Fortune 500 found that in the last three years, average growth in the percentage of corporate officer positions held by women fell dramatically to 0.23 percentage points per year, the lowest yearly gain in the past ten years. Ilene Lang, president of Catalyst, called the survey: ‘‘a wake-up call to business leaders."
Here are some national companies that have great track records and are worthy of our patronage. These companies had 25 percent or more women corporate officers over the last ten years:
Avon Products, Nordstrom, Merck & Co., Pitney Bowes, The Gap, PacifiCare Health Systems.

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