Sunday, July 19, 2009

Is it time for a gender bailout? Posted by Liz

Perhaps what ails us in the U.S. can't be solved by any amount of financial bailouts. Perhaps what we really need is a gender bailout. Instead of throwing money at our problems, why not women? Both Norway and Spain have mandated gender equity on corporate boards. Should the U.S. government demand the same?

Let’s review the numbers:

Women hold only 15 percent of all board seats in this country.

A new report from the National Council for Research on Women (NCRW) titled "Women in Fund Management" shows women are under-represented in fund management positions. Ten percent of all mutual fund managers are women and only three percent of the trillions of dollars invested in hedge funds are controlled by women.

There are similarly low percentages when you look at the number of female CEOs in the Fortune 500, female partners in law firms, women in newsrooms, women in Congress, etc. etc.


Fifty-one percent of the country's population is female.

Women make 85 percent of all consumer purchasing decisions in this country.

Almost half of all workers in the U.S., and one third of all business owners, are women.

Studies continue to demonstrate women are strong assets in business. There is the data from Catalyst that shows companies with the highest number of women in top management experience better financial performance than companies with fewer women at the top. And a little know study from two Boston College professors shows that Wall Street responds more favorably to financial moves made by companies with a female CFO.

So how about a gender bailout? Some might see it as affirmative action. Others might view it as simple equality – half of the population holding half of the power. Or, it might be the kind of decisive leadership we need to help bail us out of our current economic situation.