Life Issues

University study reveals nation’s most well-known companies turn a blind eye to gender diversity in the boardroom and management

University study reveals nation’s most well-known companies turn a blind eye to gender diversity in the boardroom and management

LatinaLista — A casual GOOGLE search using the terms "lack of diversity" yields some disappointing headlines:

113th Congress: Lack of Diversity in the GOP is Reflected in Congress

Lack of diversity in new Washington (State)legislature

Lack of diversity among Ky. elected; both parties must do soul-searching

FCC Study Shows Lack of Diversity in Station Ownership

Fox fails at Latino diversity claims media watchdog group, NBC makes the grade

Report: Hotel industry's upper ranks lack minorities

So much for it being the 21st Century.

Yet, there was always that sliver of hope that in some states, known to be progressive and forward thinking, there would be companies that would rise above the good ol'boy practice of doing business and recognize the contributions, if not the presence, of women and people of color.

California was one of those states — until today's report from UC Davis Graduate School of Management shattered whatever illusion was left.

The 2012-2013 UC Davis Study of California Women Business Leaders found that California, home to the nation's legendary 'Silicon Valley,' scored abysmally, not just dismally, low when it came to including women as equal partners in the state's big businesses.

According to the study, of the 400 largest publicly held corporations headquartered in the state:

Women still hold fewer than one in 10 of the highest-paid executive positions and board seats at the top public firms in California — and over the past eight years there has been no measurable, significant progress in the representation of women in the top decision-making posts of these California 400.

Excuses can be trotted out to explain this disparity — not enough women qualified to work in the software or semi-conductor businesses; not enough women taking STEM courses in college; not enough women…

The bottom line is that not enough women are being promoted or included at these mega companies whose everyday business transactions influence the pulse of Wall Street on a daily basis. "Of the best known companies in California— Apple, Google, Intel, Cisco, Visa, eBay, DIRECTV, Yahoo!, and PG&E — all had no women among their highest-paid executives at fiscal year-end."

With so much influence under their belt, the notion that these nationally and internationally-known companies would perpetuate a 20th Century perspective when it comes to their workforce is a disturbing testament as to how these companies view women and the 21st Century consumer.

The study also found:

  • There is only one woman for every nine men among directors and highest-paid executives.
  • Only 13 of the 400 largest companies have a woman CEO.
  • No company has an all-female (nor gender-balanced) board and management team.
  • Almost half (44.8 percent) of California’s companies have no women directors;
  • 34 percent have only one woman director.
  • By industry — firms in the semiconductor and software industries and those located in the Silicon Valley tended to include fewer women on the board and in highest-paid executive positions. Firms in the consumer goods sector had the highest average percentage of women directors and highest-paid executives.
  • The 128 Silicon Valley (Santa Clara county) companies, which represent $1.2 trillion, or nearly half the shareholder value of the companies on the list, again showed the worst record for percentage of women executives. Only 6.6 percent of their highest-paid executives are women, and only 8.4 percent of Silicon Valley board members in our study are women
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