Who's the Boss? Not a Woman

Who's the Boss Women make up 51 percent of the population, but according to a new study by Catalyst, 85 percent of companies in the Fortune 500 ranking have no women on their governing boards. That means 85 percent of companies, including Gap Inc, Fidelity, and Dick's Sporting Goods don't have women contributing to their board-level leadership.

"Corporate America needs to get 'unstuck' when it comes to advancing women to leadership," said Ilene Lang, Catalyst president and 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."

Companies with more than 25 percent of women on their Boards of Directors include several that consider women as their main target customers, such as Estee Lauder, Avon, and Macy's. However, companies such as Xerox, Pepsi, and Quest Diagnostics also claim that 30-40 percent of their boards are comprised of woman.

Catalyst, a nonprofit organization that aims to build inclusive workplaces and expand opportunities for women, released the '2010 Catalyst Census: Fortune 500 Women Board of Directors' as well as their '2010 Catalyst Census: Fortune 500 Women Executive Officers and Top Earners' this week.

The corner office

When it comes to executive positions, women can be encouraged by the fact that more than two-thirds of all companies had one woman executive officer. And over time, that number has been increasing -- a good thing. However, when it comes to the largest companies, the Fortune 500, only 14 percent of women had similar positions.

Companies including Apple, Bed Bath & Beyond, Citigroup & Costco have no women executives. However, Gap Inc, which has no women on its board, boasts 50 percent of its executive positions are held by women. H&R Block, Limited Brands, and TIAA-CREF also have around 50 percent of their executive positions filled by women.

"Jump-starting women's advancement takes commitment fueled by urgency," Lang said. "Our research points to a solution that can narrow the gender leadership gap and supercharge the leadership pool, making corporate America more competitive in the process."

Take me to your mentor

You'd think a role model in the workplace could only help a person advance. But Catalyst found, in 'Mentoring: Necessary But Insufficient for Advancement,' that men get more out of mentoring relationships than women. Men received 21 percent more in compensation per promotion, after having been mentored, while women's compensation increased by only 2 percent per promotion. Women, however, benefited from "sponsorships" (specific and guided opportunities), as opposed to simply receiving basic career advice from a mentor.

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