Employment opportunities for women have improved significantly in the past 50 years — and so has the wage gap. When the equal pay act was passed in 1963, women earned 59 cents for every dollar men in the same job. Since then, the gap has narrowed to nearly 80 cents for every dollar. Representation of women in the labor force has also improved from 30% of employed Americans in 1950 to 49.5% today.
Despite the general improvements, women are still underrepresented in many professions, including management positions. The opportunity for a woman to occupy an executive role varies considerably between companies. To determine which companies have the highest levels of female representation in upper management roles, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data compiled by research group LedBetter for 234 companies that own nearly 2,000 of the most well known consumer brands.H&M Group leads the companies with 49.8% of executives and board directors being women.
While wages and employment opportunities for women are improving overall, the gap between men and women expands at the higher levels of management. Only 14 of the 234 companies examined have a female CEO. None of the companies have a majority of women in executive and board positions, and nine of the 234 reviewed companies do not have a single woman in any executive role or with a seat on the board. This is even true at companies that sell almost exclusively to women. Coty, which sells beauty products and fragrances, does not have a single female voice at the executive level or on the board of directors.
One factor contributing to the level of female representation found in a company’s upper management is the industry the company specializes in. The apparel, retail, and personal care industries, for example, tend to have a higher proportion of women executives and account for 16 of the 25 most gender-diverse companies and only for three of the 25 least diverse businesses. Conversely, companies in the energy, technology, and transportation industries tend to not have many women in executive roles. These three industries account for nearly half of the 25 least diverse companies and only for two of the 25 most diverse companies.
In these companies with a greater share of women in upper management roles, it is not just the women in leadership positions who benefit from the opportunities afforded by their company. According to a global survey of nearly 22,000 countries in 91 countries, companies with gender-diverse management are more profitable than companies without women in management positions. The survey offers two possible reasons for this. Gender-diverse management teams take advantage of all talent available. Also, men and women bring different skill sets, increasing a firm’s skill diversity.
To identify the companies with the best and worst female representation, 24/7 Wall St. examined data from research group LedBetter, which included the share of women on the board, as well as the the share of women in executive leadership positions at the largest global corporations. Revenue figures for U.S. public companies are from financial documents filed with the federal government. For private companies and companies headquartered outside the United States, revenue figures are from the companies’ websites. Revenue figures are for the most recent period available. Only U.S. data is available for Kia Motors and Samsung. Currency exchange rates used were from June 22nd, 2016.
These are the companies with the best and worst female representation.