Putting Women in Positions of Economic Power

Following is an excerpt of an article posted by one of our guest writers for the Seattle Business Magazine. The article can be read in its entirety here.

Women may hold the purse strings at home, but in the top corporations, few women occupy the C- suite. Only 4.0 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions and 4.1 percent of Fortune 1000 CEO positions are currently held by women, according to a Catalyst report published in July 2012. So when women do make it to the C-suite, it’s still big news, as was Marissa Mayer’s appointment on July 16 to serve as CEO of Yahoo. (In Marissa’s case, this big news was amplified by her announcement that she is pregnant and due to give birth in October.)

Not only are women rarely found at the highest rungs of the corporate power ladder, their businesses are not generating the same amount of revenue as businesses owned by men. Although women-owned businesses in the United States are growing at a rate that is exceeding the national average (accounting for 29% of all enterprises), women-owned firms employ 6% of the national workforce and contribute just 4% of business revenue, according to the American Express OPEN State of Women-Owned Businesses Report published in 2011.

It’s an unfortunate and all-too-familiar dichotomy: While women exert a major impact as consumers, they are still struggling to have a larger economic impact through attainment of leadership roles and revenue generation. Or as Jean Brittingham, founder of SmartGirls Way, puts it: “We have buying power like crazy but no economic clout.”

Connie Rock is a writer, photographer, and inveterate traveler who has been to more than 30 countries. She holds a Master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University, and will begin studies this fall in the Master of Communication in Digital Media program at the University of Washington. Her blog is at: http://connierock.com/blog/.

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