A Statewide Wakeup Call
The second annual Minnesota Census of Women in Corporate Leadership reveals that women remain an underutilized resource in the top ranks of public companies.
Consider the evidence:
- Twenty-seven of the top 100 public companies in Minnesota have no women board members.
- Forty-one of the top 100 public companies have only one woman on their boards.
- Women hold only 15 percent of the Section 16b (Securities and Exchange Commission) executive officer positions in Minnesota’s top 100 public companies.
- Nineteen of the top 100 public companies have no women involved with leadership — either as directors or executive officers.
We ask that women and men view this report as a wakeup call, one whose findings deserve and demand to be shared among companies of all sizes across Minnesota. Lack of gender diversity in top corporate ranks is more than an issue of equity. It is a matter of business performance that affects the economic future of our state.
According to a Harvard Business Review article, “How Many Women Do Boards Need?,” from December 2006, women directors make substantive contributions to boards — including a collaborative approach to leadership, a dogged pursuit of answers to difficult questions, and a broadening of the discussion to include all stakeholders.
A National Initiative
Minnesota is one of 13 states or geographic regions participating in ION (InterOrganization Network), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing women as corporate directors and executive officers. ION establishes research protocols and synthesizes data from its 13 members in a national report, released in March of each year. ION members are women’s nonprofit organizations in each of the 13 states or regions. Minnesota’s sponsoring organization is the Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable (MWER).
The 2009 Minnesota Census of Women in Corporate Leadership includes two important components: the academic research by faculty members in the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership program at St. Catherine University that culminated in this report and a luncheon meeting, the St. Catherine Forum on Women in Leadership, held in February 2010 at which the findings were presented.
Kudos and Contributions
This initiative has been made possible by many individuals and organizations. The report was underwritten by Spencer Stuart, St. Catherine University, and the Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable.
Support for both the report and the Forum was provided by Twin Cities Business magazine and other sponsoring organizations. Special thanks to the volunteers who made up this year’s steering committee. Without their tireless efforts, neither the report nor the Forum luncheon would have been possible. Now, we turn to our readers — our state’s corporate and small business leaders — to carry on this work, in the hope that future editions of The Minnesota Census will show progress on behalf of our state’s business climate and, subsequently, all people in Minnesota.
Linda Hall Keller, Ph.D., steering committee co-chair, The 2009 Minnesota Census of Women in Corporate Leadership; liaison, Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable; and cochair, Women Corporate Directors, Minnesota chapter
Paula Meyer, steering committee co-chair, The 2009 Minnesota Census of Women in Corporate Leadership, and co-chair, Women Corporate Directors, Minnesota chapter