Woman Executives and the C-Suite
In recent years, women have broken through the \”glass ceiling\” by achieving senior executive (i.e., CEO, CFO, and COO) status in Fortune 500 companies—including General Motors, IBM, Oracle, Yahoo, and Facebook—to name a few. Yet, in 2012, only 17% of Fortune 500 companies\’ board directors were women. In addition, a number of high-profile lawsuits were settled in 2013, including Calibuso v. Bank of America Corp. (BAC), in which the bank agreed to pay $39 million to settle claims that it discriminated against women in its investment advice division. The suit alleged that the most lucrative clients were pushed to men, undermining women\’s compensation and professional opportunities.
For this assignment, read the following article about women in executive leadership positions and incorporate the piece as an in-text citation in your paper:
- Kranc, J. (2014). Diversity\’s bottom line (Links to an external site.). Financial Executive, 30(1), 34-39.
Select two organizations based in the same country that have made the news for their policies regarding women in executive positions, one for the better and one for the worse. Compare and contrast the organizations based on the following:
- For each organization, describe the situation that led to the news coverage. What led to the situation? Was there a satisfactory conclusion, or is the case ongoing? Describe the outcome or the current situation, and the players involved.
- Describe any laws that were violated or may have been violated.
- Assess the impact of the gender diversity, or lack thereof, in each organization. Consider profitability, reputation, growth, and competitiveness, for example, but don\’t be limited by this list.
- Provide two scholarly references in addition to the Kranc piece in support of your assessment. The CSU Global Library is a good place to find these resources.
- Formulate three actions that a company with an already established gender diversity program can take to sustain or increase the number of qualified women at the executive and board levels.
- Formulate three actions that the company performing poorly in gender diversity can take to increase the number of qualified women at the executive and board levels.
- Your well-written paper should include an introduction and conclusion, and be 3-4 pages in length, not counting the required title and references pages.
- Note that you must include at least two scholarly references for this paper. Use in-text citations and include a references page. Incorporate, cite, and reference the Kranc piece above.
Expert Answer and Explanation
Woman Executives and the C-Suite
According to the Business Journals, the article by Bizwoman iterates the percentage of women that are currently in the C-suite roles as of 2019. The women representation in the C-suite positions among the top 1000 US companies based on revenue, and those in the fortune 500, increased in 2018 (Stych, 2019). According to the study, an average of 25% of the C-suite representation comprises of women, which is a slight improvement from the 23 of the previous year.
Organizations and Women in Executive Positions
One of the companies with the best policies for women in executive positions is Chico’s FAS, Inc. leading to the company receiving the Corporate Salute Elevate Award under the Women Executive Leadership Florida in 2017. The award was aimed at recognizing the measures of the company in the advancement of gender diversity in its C-suite and boardrooms. The company reaffirms the social and financial benefits attributed to gender diversity within corporate leadership (Valet, 2018). The company operates a total of 1482 stores within the US and Canada. These situations and having 96% of employees who are re women made the company warrant the news coverage. The statistics which were present on Forbes show that the company has 91% of women holding the corporate positions while the percentage of women among the board members stands at 56%.
On the other hand, a company that made the news for their worse policies against women in executive positions is Walmart. According to the Guardian, Walmart faces a lawsuit concerning the discrimination of female employees (Sainato, 2019). Based on the lawsuit, more than 100 former and current female workers filed a court case against the company suing them for lack of opportunity as their male counterparts and unequal pay. The lawsuit against Walmart came following the US Supreme court ruling in 2011 in the case between Walmart v Dukes. The suit was against the Walmart culture that women were selected specifically for selected positions with no opportunity for promotion or growth. While the case was too large to merit a class action, the supreme court ruled that the plaintiffs ought to file an individual case against the company. Due to the pressures, Walmart has to alter with its absence policy as a response to the building pressure from the numerous lawsuits.
One reason that led to the lawsuit was the move by the company to fire women due to pregnancy absence. This move is against Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which is mandated by the government and enforced by the Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) (Siegel, 2017). Additionally, the company also violated the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act that was introduced to Congress in 2017. According to these acts, an employer is prohibited from engaging in employment activities that make unreasonable demands to discourage the accommodation of employees that are affected by childbirth, pregnancy, or other medical condition.
Impact of Gender Diversity
In the case of Chico’s FAS, Inc., gender diversity as had a positive impact mainly in terms of growth, reputation, and competitive advantage. The company deals with the production of women’s clothes, and their high number of women employees and managerial staff is a major impact on their growth (Fine, Sojo, & Lawford‐Smith, 2020). The organization also ensure that they produce products that are with recent designs, trends, and quality product. The reputation and the quality products of the company helps in the marketing and creation of awareness to their potential customers. This drives profitability and eventual growth. On the other hand, Walmart faces a negative trend in terms of reputation, growth, and competitiveness (Kranc, 2014). While facing numerous lawsuits, the company is faced with hiring legal representation and diversion of focus from their main mission and objectives. The organization also faces negative trends regarding the competitive advantage and female employee turnover due to unfair opportunities (Wahid, 2019). Since the company spans various states and has numerous stores, the impact might be minimal at the beginning, but as it progresses, it begins to affect the growth and profitability due to bad reputation and biased employee handling.
Actions for Gender Diversity in Established Companies
While having an established gender diversity policy within a company is essential, ensuring its continuity is critical for the growth of the company (Fine, Sojo, & Lawford‐Smith, 2020). Three actions that can be used to ensure its continuity include balanced advertisement of opportunities focus on merit as a means of vetting, and advocate for women to advance their education and skills to vie for top positions.
Actions for Gender Diversity in Poor Performing Companies
Companies with poor policies on gender diversity can consider the following three key actions to increase the involvement of women in the executive and board roles (Fine, Sojo, & Lawford‐Smith, 2020). These actions include creating policies that allow women to venture int the C-suite category, advocating for affirmative action, and facilitate a culture that ensures women have equal opportunities and roles.
In conclusion, gender balance in the corporate sector is important in ensuring diversity within the workplace. Companies that have a balanced gender policy mitigate risks such as lawsuits and poor reputation from the public. Ensuring that a company is in line with government regulation and follows proper policies in critical for growth and development.
Fine, C., Sojo, V., & Lawford‐Smith, H. (2020). Why does workplace gender diversity matter? Justice, organizational benefits, and policy. Social Issues and Policy Review, 14(1), 36-72.
Kranc, J. (2014). Diversity\’s bottom line. Financial Executive, 30(1), 34-39.
Sainato, M. (2019). Walmart facing gender discrimination lawsuits from female employees. Retrieved 10 August 2020, from https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/feb/18/walmart-gender-discrimination-supreme-court
Siegel, R. B. (2017). Pregnancy as a Normal Condition of Employment: Comparative and Role-Based Accounts of Discrimination. Wm. & Mary L. Rev., 59, 969.
Stych, A. (2019). Percentage of women in C-suite roles inching up. Retrieved 10 August 2020, from https://www.bizjournals.com/bizwomen/news/latest-news/2019/04/percentage-of-women-in-c-suite-roles-inching-up.html?page=all
Valet, V. (2018). The Top Companies For Women Executives: Making Strides Toward Gender Equality. Retrieved 10 August 2020, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/vickyvalet/2018/03/06/the-top-companies-for-women-executives-making-strides-toward-gender-equality/#6a1211ad1560
Wahid, A. S. (2019). The effects and the mechanisms of board gender diversity: Evidence from financial manipulation. Journal of Business Ethics, 159(3), 705-725.
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