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The number of women in senior US manager roles increases just 1% in ten years

The number of women in senior US manager roles increases just 1% in ten years

The number of women in senior management roles in the United States has increased by only 1% over the past ten years, according to research published in the Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR).

The report – which surveyed 5,400 business leaders in 36 economies – says that only 21% of senior management roles in the United States are occupied by women – which represents a decrease from the previous year (22%) and just 1% rise from 2004 (when it was 20%).

Globally, the study found that 22% of senior roles are held by women. At the bottom of the table is Japan, where only 8% of senior management positions filled by women. Russia came out top, with 40% of its senior business roles taken by women, followed by Georgia (38%) and Poland (37%).

In the US, of the women in senior management roles, just 6% are chief executive officers. The majority of female business leaders worked in human resources (44%), corporate controllers (20%) or chief marketing officers (19%).

‘The lack of significant progress during the past decade for U.S. women in senior management is disappointing. Companies have been talking the talk on gender equality for decades, but still too few are walking the walk,’ said Erica O’Malley, Grant Thornton LLP’s national managing partner of Diversity & Inclusion.

‘U.S. businesses must take steps now to eradicate gender bias and shift expectations around the role of women, which have contributed to success in other economies when it comes to advancing women.’

The research showed that what has increased in the US is support for the introduction of gender quotas. In 2014, 30% of both male and female senior managers were in favour of introducing gender quotas, but this figure had risen to 56% in the most recent report.

Norway, in 2003, introduced a law requiring at least 40% of corporate board members to be female. At present, it’s businesses fall short of that; nearly 36 per cent of board members in the country are women.

Earlier in the week, it was announced that a UK-government set target of 25% female board members was unlikely to be met ahead of the country’s General Election in May.

The 2014 Catalyst Census: Women Board Directors, found that 19.2% of board seats at US stock index companies are taken by women.

Commenting on the Grant Thornton findings to Gay Star Business, Star Jones, President of the Professional Diversity Network (NASDAQ: IPDN) and National Association of Professional Women said, ‘As a rule, I’m not in favor of quotas. I believe that they are often used to set a limiting “cap.” I am, however, in favor of quotas to help get us to a baseline of equality and parity; 21% of US women in senior management roles are not nearly enough!

‘Every major study of the last five years has shown that adding gender diversity to a business positively affects the bottom line. We need to redefine diversity and reject the premise that a female candidate cannot operate in excellence and handle the responsibilities that go along with running major business initiatives.

‘It’s time to break-up the boys club. It’s not just the right thing to do… It’s the smart thing to do.’