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Women in the Board Room
If your batting average is 0.100 don’t expect to make it in the “show”. Likewise, if you are shooting 10% from the field, you may want to work on that jump shot before your contract is up for renewal. By just about any measure in any sector, 10% success just doesn’t cut it.

So most of us in business should consider ourselves benched.

Last month a study was released by the University of California, Davis that looked at the representation of women in executive and board positions in California. Any guesses? That is right, about 10%.

The 2005 UC Davis Study of California Women Business Leaders" looked at the top 200 companies headquartered in California by net revenue. The study identified 25 companies that have more than 20 percent women directors and executive officers. Good for them. It also found 55 companies - more than 25 percent - have no women board members or executive officers. Shame on them.

We should all do better. California, as the eighth largest economy in the world, is a pretty good proxy. It is also known as a trailblazer in social trends. I would have expected more. It is near the top across the nation but saying our lousy performance is better than your lousy performance shouldn’t make us feel in better.

The authors note the timeliness of the report given the recent record of corporate scandal and the current Enron trial.

"At a time when public companies are suffering from lapses in corporate governance and failures in leadership," the researchers wrote, "they cannot afford to ignore the talent and perspective available in half the population and close to half the work force."

I agree. Placing qualified women into key leadership roles in business will bring a valued perspective, diversity and balance to the executive office and boardroom.

The following companies were recognized as role models for attracting and mentoring women in leadership.

Golden West Financial
Hot Topic

Providian Financial Corp. (since acquired by Washington Mutual Bank)

Read about and follow women in business on sistersinbiz and workerette.

2 Comments/Trackbacks

Having worked for Gymboree Corp. I can attest to their ability to recruit, hire, train and mentor women. At the time I was young and single (how I'd love the employee discount now!) but even then I felt supported and empowered as a manager to support and encourage my staff, many of whom were working moms. Whether part-time or full-time, most of my staff and fellow managers throughout the district and region were women. (Our few male employees may have felt THEY needed the support network!) Kudos to Gymboree for keeping a good thing going.

» More Women on Boards from LeaderNotes
A story from the Guardian Unlimited in the UK reports that Norway has passed a law that requires companies to replace men with women. [Read More]

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