Ranking the Top 100 Firms According to Gender Diversity

By Sharma, Rajneesh; Givens-Skeaton, Susan | Advancing Women in Leadership, January 1, 2010 | Go to article overview

Ranking the Top 100 Firms According to Gender Diversity


Sharma, Rajneesh, Givens-Skeaton, Susan, Advancing Women in Leadership


Abstract

This study investigates gender diversity within the top 100 US firms. In particular, we study the gender diversity among the top executive officers listed in the 10-k or annual reports of the top 100 firms. Gender diversity is measured in two ways: by using the number of women serving as a top officer within the organization and by computing the proportion of women among the top officers. We further rank the firms on the basis of above-mentioned variables. There are no firms where the majority of the officers are women. Twenty firms have no female officers. Among these firms, Exxon Mobile and Phillip Morris International have highest number total executive officers listed on their 10-k. Johnson & Johnson has the highest gender diversity. Overall, there is a concerning lack of gender diversity in the top 100 firms.

Key words: Research process, women, feminist researcher

Introduction

Work organizations continue to change in a variety of ways (Cascio, 2010). Specifically, organizational structures are becoming flatter and more participative (Robinson, Tannenbaum, Givens-Skeaton, 2003). The tasks that employees perform and the way people work together are changing (Carr-Ruffino, 2005). Perhaps most importantly, the workforce is becoming more diverse, a fact that can be seen when one looks at the demographic makeup of people working in today's organizations. According to Carr-Ruffino (2005), of the 26 million new workers who entered the U.S. workforce between 1990 and 2005, only 15% were Euro-American men. The other 85% of new entrants included Euro-American women (45%), non-Euro-American men (20%), and non-Euro-American women (20%). Given that women accounted for 65% of these new workers, females now comprise approximately half (46%) of the workforce (Toossi, 2006). This trend toward a more diverse workplace is expected to continue. By 2020, non-Hispanic White workers will make-up only 68% of the workforce (Lerman & Schmidt, 1999); and by 2042, about eight years earlier than previously expected, non-Hispanic Whites will comprise less than half of the U.S. population (Dougherty, 2008). Furthermore, the workforce participation rate of women is expected to stabilize. It is projected that by 2050, women will continue to account for 47% of the U.S. workforce (Toossi, 2006).

The trend toward a more diverse workforce is not completely new. Since the 1960s, more women and minorities have been entering college programs and trade schools once dominated by white males (Carr-Ruffino, 2009). By the early 1980s, the media began to carry reports about women's advancement into occupations traditionally reserved for men (Reskin & Roos, 1990). Women had begun moving into technical, professional, managerial, and executive careers that were once not available to them. As a result of having access to these careers, women began working outside the home. Today, many women work outside the home for much of their adult lives. Some women do so because they desire both a career and a family. Others do so because their family needs the income. Most do so for both of these reasons (Carr-Ruffino, 2009).

Research in gender theory has revealed a variety of factors that are instrumental in increasing the number of women in the workforce. According to Cascio (2010), the increased presence of women in the workforce is primarily due to: (a) changes in the family structure, (b) changes in education, (c) changes in technology, and (d) changes in the economy.

Changes in the family structure, such as single-parent families and divorce have created situations where women often become the sole source of the family's income (Cascio, 2010). Research has also suggested that the upward trend in the divorce rate may be related to the increase in women's earning ability (Becker, Landes, & Michael, 1977; Sander, 1985). Women who make an adequate wage have less need to remain married. Other changes, such as the declining birthrate, contraception, and abortion have also contributed to this increased participation of women in today's workforce by decreasing the number of years that they now devote to raising children (Ferber & McMahon, 1979; Sprague, 1988). …

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