Academic journal article Competition Forum

Glass Ceiling: Role of Women in the Corporate World

Academic journal article Competition Forum

Glass Ceiling: Role of Women in the Corporate World

Article excerpt

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Twenty years ago, the term "glass ceiling" was coined by the Wall Street Journal to describe the apparent barriers that prevent women and minorities from reaching the top of the corporate hierarchy. Several studies, both academic and governmental, have shown that despite the efforts to increase diversity, women still face the glass-ceiling when it comes to top management jobs in the private sector, may it be Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) or board members. This study takes a more focused approach to examining the trend in gender diversity. We used data on publicly traded corporations registered in the State of Texas to examine the existence of the glass ceiling effect in Texas. The data for this study was gathered from ReferenceUSA, which is a subscription database that contains information on more than twelve million U.S. businesses and one million Canadian businesses.

Keywords: Glass Ceiling effect, Texas Corporations

INTRODUCTION

The issue of diversity with respect to women heading big corporations has been an important source of discussion among researchers as well as practitioners and with good reason. Twenty years ago, the term "glass ceiling" was coined by the Wall Street Journal to describe the apparent barriers that prevent women and minorities from reaching the top of the corporate hierarchy. Several studies, both academic and governmental, have shown that despite the efforts to increase diversity, women still face the glass-ceiling when it comes to top management jobs in the private sector, may it be Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) or board members. Examining statistics on who gets promoted into management and, particularly, who gets the top spots in any organization show that even employers with the best general employment diversity records do not fare as well in fostering diversity in organizational upper atmosphere. The higher the position, in both, the private and public sectors, the less likely that women or minorities will fill it.

A federal study conducted in 1995 found that males held 95 percent of all top management positions (Economist, 2005). It was an amazing statistic considering that in 1995 women accounted for 45.7 percent of America's jobs. Despite the efforts by organizations to improve gender diversity at the top, the percentage of women in top management positions increased only slightly to 8 percent in the year 2004. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported in 2004 that although 48 percent of U.S. jobs were held by women only 8 percent of senior managers were women.1 There have been general studies that examined the issue of gender diversity in the academic literature. A recent study by Arfken, Bellar, and Helms (2004), found the glass ceiling effect to be very prominent in corporations registered in Tennessee. The authors reported that only 5.8 percent of board seats in publicly held companies in Tennessee were held by women in 2002, as compared to 5.4 percent of board seats in 1996.

We selected Texas because it is the second largest U.S state in area (after Alaska) and in population (after California). In 2005, Texas had a gross state product of $982.4 billion, the second highest in America after California2. As of 2006, Texas, for the first time, has more Fortune 500 company headquarters (56) than any other state. This has been attributed to both the growth in population in Texas and the rise of oil prices in 2005, which resulted in the growth in revenues of many Texas oil drilling and processing companies. The purpose of this study is to examine the existence of the glass ceiling in Texas. With the ever expanding economy in Texas, companies will have to address the issue of gender diversity in the workforce. This study takes a more focused approach to examining the trend in gender diversity. We wanted to investigate the existence of the glass ceiling effect in Texas and its extent. We used data on publicly traded corporations registered in the State of Texas. …

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