Thoughts from Janice Reals Ellig
Women are not paid as well as men. When women can't write the checks, what suffers? All the things that are considered 'women's issues,' like women's health care. When women are at the top of corporations, day care is provided for employees, flex time is available, and attention is paid to what makes women able to compete in the culture of the workplace. We need to put more women in senior-level positions. The more often women can write checks and support causes we believe in, the more we can help create the changes that are needed in the world.
A Statistical Perspective
- Eight of the current Fortune 500 companies are headed by women (2004 update from Janice Reals Ellig).
- 6.2% of women-154 women versus 2,488 men-hold positions in the highest ranks of corporate America (with the titles of chairman, CEO, vice chairman, president, COO, SEVP, or EVP).
- 4.1% of the top-earner spots in the current Fortune 500-93 positions out of 2,255-are held by women. n In 1977, there were 0.7 million women-owned firms in the U.S. In 1987, there were 4.1 million; and in 1999, there were 9.1 million.
According to a 1999 report from the Society of Human Resource Management, the top five barriers to women's advancement in corporate America are: (1) a culture that favors men, (2) men's stereotyped preconceptions of women, (3) the lack of female representation on corporate boards, (4) women's exclusion from informal networks, and (5) management's perception-read "men's perception" -that family responsibilities will interfere.
-From What Every Successful Woman Knows , by Janice Reals Ellig and William J. Morin
Tips for Mentors
From Janice Reals Ellig
Based on a conversation with Mara Peluso
Commitment to being a mentor is the most important step . Many people agree to be mentors, but don't finish the job. You have to stick to a schedule and be consistent. Identify a rising star in your organization and set aside regular meeting times to talk with the young professional about where she wants to go in her career.
Put yourself into the shoes of the person you are mentoring . You need to be able to give your advice in a constructive way, so keep in mind that young professionals are facing issues of a different decade than when you started your career, and their experiences could be very different from your own. Take the time to really listen to her unique problems-such as balancing a demanding schedule between her work and home life, or dealing with a difficult supervisor-and base your advice and feedback on her experiences, not your own.
Market the individual . Promote your mentee verbally to the men and leaders in your organization. Make sure key figures know her name as a person who wants to move ahead and as someone who has, or is gaining, the skills to move up to the next level.
Janice Reals Ellig is a partner of Gould, McCoy, Chadick & Ellig. With more than 20 years of corporate- and seniorlevel recruiting experience, Ms. Ellig has worked extensively with top management and boards of directors on organizational development, executive compensation, succession planning and branding initiatives. She recently co-authored the book, What Every Successful Woman Knows: 12 Breakthrough Strategies to Get the Power and Ignite Your Career (McGraw Hill: 2001), named the best book in its genre by Business Week in 2002.
© 1990-2005, More Than Money, All rights reserved