Women on Boards

The Long Journey to Reach Gender Equity

elissa-sangsterIs gender parity in corporate business leadership a possibility or a pipe dream? An MBA may hold the answer.

When it comes to gender equity, the numbers aren’t pretty: Women working full time still earn 81 cents on the dollar compared with their male counterparts according to US Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to Catalyst, only 4.2 per cent of Fortune 500 chief executives are women and only 17.3 per cent of board directors in the UK are women, followed by even smaller numbers in the US, Germany, Canada, China and Japan.

An MBA may help level the playing field. Forté Foundation found that an MBA could boost a woman’s lifetime earning potential by $3m. In a survey of 2012 graduates, the Graduate Management Admission Council, which administers the GMAT business school entrance exam, found that women reported salary increases of 70 per cent on average over their pre-degree salary – comparable with men’s increases. Past research by executive search firm Spencer Stuart notes that 39 per cent of S&P 500 chief executives have an MBA. Also in 2011 42 of the chief executives of Fortune 100 companies had an MBA, more than any other advanced degree.

Earning an MBA can also open up additional career options for women, who are more likely to switch jobs than men. Women hold an average of eight jobs over the course of a career, vs seven for men, according to an October survey by Citi and LinkedIn.

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