Tuesday, April 10, 2007

What's it going to take?

I wanted to share with you an editorial featured in the April 10, 2007 issue of Business Week about an organization called Catalyst, titled "A Little Shame Goes a Long Way".

The article in Business Week was about how the organization has stopped naming companies that don't have women in the top ranks of the company. The reason:
President Ilene H. Lang says it takes too much time and there's little value to publishing the data by company.
When I went to their website and read the press release about the 2006 Census of Women in Fortune 500 Corporate Officer and Board Positions, I was shocked by a prominent statement:

Corporate Officers and Top Earners: At the current rate of change, it could take
women 47 years to reach parity with men as corporate officers of Fortune 500

The mission of Catalyst as stated on their website is:
Catalyst is the leading research and advisory organization working with businesses and the professions to build inclusive environments and expand opportunities for women at work. As an independent, nonprofit membership organization, Catalyst conducts research on all aspects of women’s career advancement and provides strategic and web-based consulting services globally. With the support and confidence of member corporations and firms, Catalyst remains connected to business and its changing needs. In addition, Catalyst honors exemplary business initiatives that promote women’s leadership with the annual Catalyst Award. With offices in New York, San Jose, and Toronto, Catalyst is consistently ranked No. 1 among U.S. nonprofits focused on women’s issues by The American Institute of Philanthropy.
I don't really consider myself a feminist, but since moving to San Diego and during this job search, I'm frustrated by the lack of mentoring among the women of San Diego and frustrated with the low pay that company's are offering me for my experience, it sort of drives me towards that position. In Dallas, I considered one of my former managers my mentor, but since moving to San Diego have lost touch with her. When I was at Gateway, I had high-hopes that Sanders might fill that role, but the Kernel, has become a joke amongst several of my peers based on her poor management and leadership. It's such a shame, because she could have really been a fantastic mentor had she not been so Bi-polar. And on the salary issue, I know that there are men in marketing roles out there that are being paid plenty and I have the same or better experience! It's so frustrating.

This story just really hit home and I agree with the author that perhaps Catalyst should start humiliating the male corporate leaders to facilitate change. It seems to be working in the Don Imus situation... really don't understand why there is name calling in this world still. Haven't people learned their lesson. I do find it sad that in order to facilitate change, men have to be bullied and shamed in order to make it happen.

But what gets me about the article is this last statement:

That Lang insists nobody cares about such specific information-"except for a couple of people in the press" -may say much about the mindset in today's corporate suites.

What are your thoughts?

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