The Seattle P-I ‘s Christine Frey began an excellent, though exceedingly demoralizing series yesterday about the glass ceiling where I live. In Washington, a blue state, liberal, progressive, this year, 2006, here are the sobering facts and figures:
In a state that made history last year by becoming the first to have a female governor and two women serving in the U.S. Senate, women on average hold fewer than one in five senior-level executive jobs at the top 73 public companies. Records compiled and analyzed by the P-I also show that in the boardroom, just 14 percent of all seats at those companies belong to women.
Despite Washington’s progressive reputation and blue-state leanings, not one of those companies has women in the majority as executives or in board composition. Only Seattle-based Blue Nile has an equal number of men and women in senior management and on its board.
Among the findings:
Women hold 18 percent of executive positions. Women hold 14 percent of board positions. There were no top-level women executives at 15 companies. There were no women on the boards of 21 companies. Seven companies had no women at the executive and board levels.
Consider this chart showing the top executives of Washington’s 10 largest companies:
Not only is only one of the 10 a woman, every one of them is white.
This coincides neatly with Ann Bartow’s(of Feminist Law Professors) post yesterday citing to a Harvard Law School Alumni newsletter article which noted that “women still account for only 17 percent of law firm partners, 20 percent of federal judges, and 14 percent of Fortune 500 general counsels.” This despite the way we are continually being reminded that law schools are turning out more women than men these days.
If it’s this way here in Seattle, it’s this way throughout the U.S., or worse. There is currently a sex discrimination case brought by women employees against Costco, charging that women are not allowed into management positions.
*Quote is the brainchild of Lisa Liswood, general secretary of the Council of Women World Leaders based at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government