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Study Highlights the Current State of Women in Leadership Roles

Written by Featured Organization on 22 October 2012.

DENVER –The Women’s College of the University of Denver and The White House Project, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that aims to advance women’s leadership, have conducted a national study examining women’s positional leadership across 14 sectors. Four of the sectors are being unveiled at this time. The study, led by Tiffani Lennon, J.D., LL.M, chair of the Law and Society Department at The Women’s College, overwhelmingly showed that women outperform their male counterparts across most sectors, yet they are still not recognized for senior leadership positions.

For example, women received only 11 percent of the capital investment but comprised the top 20 percent of successful entrepreneurs in 2011. Conversely, male entrepreneurs received 89 percent of the capital investment and comprised 80 percent of the top entrepreneurs. Women were among the top 70 percent of social entrepreneurs in 2011 that made the most significant impact, while men made up just 30 percent of the top social entrepreneurs. Additionally, net income growth for companies with women on the board has averaged 14 percent over the past six years, whereas companies with no female representation have seen just 10 percent growth. Women in top leadership positions are significantly better represented among organizations and firms with merit and performance-based policies -- that are enforced. 

Additional initial findings from the study include:

Government and Politics: Women constitute 26 percent of senior leadership roles on average across all governmental agencies in 2012, and 26 percent of federal judgeships.

Business: Women’s overall representation in the business labor force has climbed from 48 percent in 2008 to 49.1 percent in 2012 (Catalyst 2012b). Yet, on average, women comprise 11.76 percent of all leadership roles among the top ten companies in this sector. Net income growth for companies with women on the board has averaged 14 percent over the past six years, whereas companies with no female representation have seen a 10 percent growth.

Entrepreneurship: The entrepreneurship chapter explains that women receive just 11 percent of the capital investment and yet comprise 20 percent of the top entrepreneurs of 2011. Conversely, male entrepreneurs receive 89 percent of the capital investment and comprise 80 percent of the top entrepreneurs of 2011.

Non-profit: Among non-profits with budgets in excess of $25 million, women constitute only 21 percent of leadership roles even though they make up 75 percent of the workforce. Yet, in some areas such as social entrepreneurship women clearly dominate in terms of success and impact.

“By sharing this data, we hope to spark thoughtful discussion and collaboration between men and women in exploring these issues. We need more men in conversation with women addressing strategies to increase the percentage of women in positional leadership roles,” said Dr. Lynn M. Gangone, dean of The Women’s College.

The final results of the second edition of Benchmarking Women’s Leadership, originally released by The White House Project in 2009, will be fully released in March 2013.

 

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Established in 1888 as Colorado Women’s College, The Women’s College of the University of Denver believes that well-educated women become the leaders our world needs, bringing passion, compassion, and justice to critical problems in every industry, every community. With a diverse student population and a student-engaged learning environment, this academic powerhouse blends a collaborative, engaging learning community with a challenging academic experience. For more information, visitwww.womenscollege.du.edu.

The White House Project ignites the leadership of women in business and politics. We connect, coach, and educate an ever-expanding alumnae network of 14,000 nationwide. With a focus on women early in their careers, we activate the ambition, creativity, and skills necessary for innovative and effective leadership. Learn more at:www.thewhitehouseproject.org

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