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Monday, July 18, 2016
Things Still Looking Up for Women in Business School
At least once a year, the blogosphere lights up with the results of new surveys measuring the growth of enrollment of women in the world's business school programs. In June of last year, I wrote about the slumbering enrollment numbers in US MBA programs.
This year, the numbers of women enrolling in graduate business programs here in the U.S. continue their slow growth. By some measures, the numbers in overseas schools are growing more steadily. For women looking to get into business school, the gender gap is (sadly) worth paying attention to. Some schools put more effort into recruiting women than others.
What's most salient, though, isn't that women haven't yet reached the 50% mark in any major business program, but the snail's pace at which women are becoming faculty and board members at business schools both in America and abroad.
This shouldn't be a major surprise in a market where eight (8) of the CEO's in Fortune's Top 100 are women. Eight. Things are more dismal if you zoom out; there are only 22 female CEO's in the Fortune 500. That's 4.4%, for you quant ladies.
Is there a happy bottom line? Maybe. The numbers of women enrolling in professional schools across the board continues its slow upward creep with each passing year. But those numbers-which hover around 40% in the top business schools, bear almost no relation to the numbers of women in management positions at the top of the ladder. The same is true for faculty and board representation.
Like all discussions of women in the work force, the nuances go far beyond enrollment numbers, and meander into more expansive social topography-most notably, work-life balance for professional women who decide to have children.
Still, it's comforting to see the enrollment numbers moving in the right direction. Waiting for those to catch up with workforce numbers may be the slowest climb of all.
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