OK, you made me do it Corporate America. I had decided not to post a blog about International Women’s Day, which is today. But now I feel compelled to do so.
I didn’t want to blog because commemorations like this are often empty and useless, and end up as nothing more than a way for corporations to promote their so-called good deeds. For example, Google is helping the effort by including a graphic for the occasion on its search page and the company put together a map so people can find the various events going on globally in conjunction with International Women’s Day.
It’s great that Google wants to piggy back on a cause for women empowerment, but what about concentrating on your own board room? Google has only two female board members and only one women who is part of the executive management team.
According to research firm Catalyst:
* Women held 15.7% of board seats in 2010—only a 0.5 percentage point gain over the 15.2% they held in 2009.
* In both 2009 and 2010, more than 50% of companies had at least two women board directors, yet more than 10% had no women serving on their boards. The percentage of companies with three or more women board directors also remained flat.
* In 2010, women held only 14.4% of Executive Officer positions, up from 13.5% in 2009.
* In 2010, women Executive Officers held only 7.6% of the top earner positions, as compared with 6.3% in 2009.
* In 2009, more than two-thirds of companies had at least one woman Executive Officer; this number did not change in 2010. The same held true for companies with no women Executive Officers.
“Corporate America needs to get ‘unstuck’ when it comes to advancing women to leadership,” said Ilene H. Lang, Catalyst President & Chief Executive Officer. “This is our fifth report where the annual change in female leadership remained flat. If this trend line represented a patient’s pulse—she’d be dead.”
Having any of these companies come out, as they often do, touting themselves as the champions of women makes my skin crawl a bit. Thus, my decision to post today about the DAY, even though I promised myself I wouldn’t.
And hey, this day has been celebrated for a century now. Maybe it’s not really working. Should we turn our attentions to a revolution instead of just hanging out on a virtual bridge?