Women climbing corporate ladder slowly

November 17, 2008 5:51:21 PM PST
A new study on working women in California shows corporations have a long way to go to put more women in the top jobs.

For the past four years researchers have used annual reports, proxy statements and other documents to track the progress of women climbing the corporate ladder in California.

The results are not encouraging.

But, women blazing trails in other fields were saluted Monday by the state's first lady.

This year women ran for the highest offices in the land, yet in America's corporate offices progress is slow.

Researchers at UC Davis released their 4th annual study of businesswomen in this state. The report found only about half of the 400 largest public companies in California have women in top executive positions and only 3 percent have a female CEO.

"You wonder where are more women? Why aren't more women at the top when they clearly have so much to offer?" asks Rosario Marin of the California Consumer Services Agency.

The report praises five firms in the state including Bare Escentuals. Not only does this San Francisco-based cosmetics corporation have a woman at the helm, the study says more than 45 percent of those in leadership spots are women, like their Vice President of Human Resources Debbie Fletcher.

"We are definitely a culture that values one another and try to operate with the highest degree of integrity and that started from the top of the organization," said Fletcher.

On this same day when researchers lamented the "glass ceiling" the state's first lady is celebrating womens' achievements.

Maria Shriver launched the California Museum's new internet venture called the California Legacy Trails.

Remarkable women, past and present, are the first to have their stories on the web.

Shriver thinks it's time for women to rethink success.

She says, "Tell women you don't have to crack the glass ceiling unless you want to. You can be a success without cracking any ceiling. You can be a success by using your voice at the dinner table. You can be a success using your voice at your children's school. You can be a success in any way. I think we have to redefine. What's success?"

The report says that for women who want the corner office, one of the worst industries is the semi-conductor industry, one of the largest in the Bay Area. Researchers describe the field as an "all-boy bastion" with more than two-thirds of the firms run by all-male executive teams.


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