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Bentley/The Boston Club Study Says Women Stuck in Neutral in Journey to Corporate Boardrooms
October 31, 2005
Two Bentley professors, in partnership with The Boston Club, have found that women continue to be an underutilized resource in the boardrooms and executive suites of Massachusetts companies, according to the 2005 Census of Women Directors and Executive Officers of Massachusetts Public Companies.
The Census, co-sponsored by Bentley, Mercer and The Boston Club, and presented at a breakfast on November 17 at the Westin Copley Plaza, shows that only two more board seats were filled this year by women, who now comprise just 9.9 percent of the directors of the 100 largest public companies in the state. Forty-five of the 100 largest companies still have no women on their boards. There were no gains in diversity in the boardrooms: the nine women of color who served as directors in 2004 are the same nine who serve in 2005.
Figures for women in executive positions increased, from 9.2 percent in 2004 to 10.1 percent in 2005. Forty-eight of the 100 companies, however, still have no women executive officers.
"There is a business issue here," says Patricia Flynn, Bentley trustee professor of economics and management, who co-authored the census with Bentley Professor of Management Susan Adams and Toni Wolfman, executive-in-residence at Bentley's Institute for Women in Leadership and chair of The Boston Club's board search effort. "Strong financial performance and good corporate governance are positively correlated with the presence of women directors. Yet, progress is so slow, if we didn't report the findings with one decimal place, you'd miss it!"
According to Adams, the 45 companies with no women directors sell everything from ice cream to software, from musical instruments to fabric. "Women are the dominant force behind purchasing power in this country, responsible for 83 percent of all consumer spending," Adams noted. "Women are also in control of the $14 trillion in wealth in the United States and account for almost half of all investors."
There is, however, reason for some optimism. The 2005 Census includes a special analysis on Women in Board Leadership Positions. It shows that approximately one-third of the 100 companies now have a woman on the nominating committee of the board. These women can help to diversify the pool of candidates being considered for director positions by providing names, sources and contacts not previously known to their male counterparts.
The 2005 Census concludes that women are clearly an underutilized resource available to Massachusetts companies, and that help is increasingly available to companies in identifying qualified women for board and executive positions. "In addition to executive search firms, The Boston Club and its partner groups in the InterOrganization Network (ION) throughout the country are willing and able to help in this regard," says Toni Wolfman. "Our goal in the year ahead is to get Massachusetts out of neutral and into first gear!"
A copy of the full report can be downloaded by clicking here.
Firm Size Makes a Difference
Industry Also Makes a Difference
Special Analysis: Women in Board Leadership Positions
Women Executive Officers
Directors and Executive Officers
BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit www.bentley.edu.
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