Monday, September 25 , 2017, 2:27 pm | Fair 79º

 
 
 

Tom Donohue: Unleashing the Talent and Energy of Women in the Economy

We can and must do more to leverage the skills, ideas and innovations that women bring to the table

Women make up half of the workforce, but they are underrepresented in the top executive ranks of our nation’s businesses. While more and more women are filling top jobs, there remains a gender gap.

Though a record number of women now head Fortune 500 companies, they still represent only 3 percent of CEOs at our nation’s largest businesses. The numbers don’t get much better when you look at mid-cap companies — those with $1 billion to $7 billion in market capitalization.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently partnered with Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business on a study that found that, on average, barely 6 percent of executive positions at the midsize business level are held by women. In a number of key industries, the representation of women at the executive level is 2 percent or lower.

There is some good news. The study showed that executive compensation for women at the mid-cap level is keeping pace with that of their male peers and in some cases even surpassing it. Several industries, including media, pharmaceutical and retail, have much higher rates of women in executive positions.

But, clearly, there is room for improvement. We can and must do more to leverage the skills, ideas and innovations that women leaders bring to the table.

The Chamber of Commerce established the Center for Women in Business to create more opportunities for women to advance in the business world and to find professional fulfillment. The goal of the CWB is to see more women serving on corporate boards and in executive leadership roles in businesses of all sizes.

To help make that happen, the center emphasizes education and fosters mentorship. Through the CWB, the Chamber of Commerce is building a growing organization of women leaders and entrepreneurs to encourage peer-to-peer networking and spur professional growth.

It would be a big mistake for us not to tackle this challenge. Women are propelled by the spirit of entrepreneurship that will keep our 21st century workforce competitive. They are a driving force in our economic recovery — both through entrepreneurialism and executive leadership. Women-owned businesses already contribute $3 trillion annually to our economy and support 23 million American jobs. Let’s unleash the talent and energy of more American women, help grow their contributions to business and put them to work in our economy.

In our free enterprise system, talent should be recognized regardless of gender, and opportunity should know no bounds.

— Tom Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >