One of the questions I mull over from time to time, is why after all these years are there still so few women in corporate leadership? Study after study proves that adding women (note the plural) to a team improves corporate performance substantially. The book, The Difference by Scott Page shows, through some very complicated math, that any organism from a cell to a company to a solar system dies out without enough diversity. And don’t forget that women make up 51% of the population, and since 1978 women have been earning more college degrees than men. Women do make up 40% of all managerial positions, and yet when it comes to top management positions, women make up just 9% – and this is down from a high of 14% in 2004. So the question is, what is going on and why is this problem proving so intractable?
Professor David Ross of Columbia University just completed the first large scale statistical study on the issue. The study, which analyzed 20 years of data from the 1,500 largest US firms, identified a single significant predictor. “If a firm already has one woman in a top management position, then the odds that another woman will also have a top position is lower,” Ross says. “It’s as if women are over-distributed among firms, or spread out more evenly than chance alone would dictate.”
The study does point out that, as you would expect, male behavior plays a big role in the absence of women at the top – the study shows generally that once one woman is added to the management team, the urgency to add a second woman diminishes greatly.
A very enlightening part of the survey outlined one part of the issue that we women have control over; namely how women at the top related to each other and to the younger women at the company. I would ask each of you to read the article which you can find here: http://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/
The good news is that with any problem, the more light that is cast on the myriad issues that create the problem in the first place, the better chance there is to address the issue. This study is (finally) a great step in that direction!
So we have a ton of great events coming up this quarter. You will note we have the joint Cyber Vulnerability events with the CFA Society in each city coming up next week. If you are an investor, CFO or Compliance Officer, you will want to attend these events to learn more about how to protect yourself and your firm. In Austin we have a great opportunity to have dinner with 2 CIOs and hear what these brilliant investors are up to. We also have a Family Office event in Dallas that you will not want to miss, so check out our event line up and get signed up as many of these events are space limited.
We will look forward to seeing you at an event soon!