Women Make Progress in Fortune 500 Companies

A census prepared by Catalyst, a women’s research group, found that 3.3 percent of companies’ top earners are women, a slight gain from 2.7 percent last year and 1.2 percent in 1995. Earnings are based on salary, stock options, and bonuses. Catalyst President Sheila Wellington said of the gains “The numbers are small, but along every dimension…they’re moving in the right direction, and that’s important.”

Women still face real obstacles when seeking top corporate jobs. The problem is that women do not hold what are called line officer positions, which consist of such positions as factory management and supervision sales staff as well as accounting. Senior management is usually promoted from these kinds of positions, of which men currently hold 93.2 percent and women just 6.8 percent. “It’s a kind of glass wall” commented Wellington.

Only four Fortune 500 companies have women CEOs including Jill Barad of Mattel, Inc., Marion Sandler of Golden West Financial Corp., Carleton Fiorina of Hewlett Packard Co. and Andrea Jung of Avon Products Inc. The numbers of women in top corporate positions are rising as women such as these succeed in senior-level jobs and as more young women graduate from programs such as accounting and business management.


The Associated Press - November 12, 1999

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