Women in the Workforce Gaining Ground in Philly’s C-Suites

Women in the Workforce Gaining Ground in Philly’s C-Suites

A new report about women in the workforce was published. But it fails to say anything about minorities.


Women are making it to the top of Philadelphia-area corporations, universities and healthcare systems—but they’re getting there slowly.

That’s according to the 2016 “Women on Boards” report released last week by the Forum of Executive Women and PwC.

The analysis looked at Greater Philadelphia’s 100 largest public companies and found three key points from the 2014-2015 year:

  • Of 60 board openings, 20 went to women.
  • Companies with no women on their boards decreased from 35 in 2014 to 27 in 2015 — a 23 percent change for the better.
  • Companies with at least 25 percent of their boards made up of women increased from 14 to 19 — a 36 percent improvement.

More diverse boards produce better results for companies, according to the report. Companies with women on their boards show an understanding of the demographics of their customers and shareholders and a willingness to think more broadly in an increasingly competitive global market, the report said. And citing research from Credit Suisse, the report also states that companies with women on their boards perform better financially.

While the 2016 report reveals positive trends, the results are “not enough to alter the overall picture of gender imbalance,” the report said. “In 2015, women held just 14 percent of all board seats — up slightly from 13 percent the year before.”

Women of Color in the C-Suite

While the Forum for Executive Women aims to “promote the value of gender diversity on boards and in executive suites,” it’s not clear how they plan to get there without highlighting the specific challenges that minority women, including women of color, women with disabilities, immigrants and veterans, face in rising amongst the ranks.

Women of color, for example, tend to hit a concrete ceiling in business, the Wall Street Journal reports, for a variety of factors that most of their white counterparts don’t experience.

“While conversations about gender equality at work are becoming more common, conversations about race, opportunity and fairness remain difficult at best,” said the WSJ.

Philadelphia is a majority-minority city, with women of color outnumbering their white counterparts, according to the 2015 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.
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