What might be behind the dramatic one-year reversal? In a word: boards."We are seeing women and minorities on boards ticking up, and boards have a lot to do with who becomes CEOs," Lorraine Hariton, CEO of nonprofit Catalyst, told me. Fifteen years ago, women accounted for 15.7% of board seats in the Fortune 500. Now, it's 25.5%.
The current bill seeks to bolster equal pay protections by banning employees from asking about workers’ salary history (a growing trend at the state and local level); eliminating the employer practice of salary confidentiality, meaning women could more easily learn of wage discrepancies; and requiring employers to disclose salary data to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in an effort to better suss out troublesome pay trends. The bill has bipartisan support; it has one Republican co-sponsor in the House, and seven members of the GOP voted in favor of it last week.
It’s natural to look for commonalities among the holdouts, but few jump out. Four are in the energy sector, two are financial companies, and two operate in the food and beverage world. Three are based in New York City, three in Texas, and the rest are scattered around the country. Their employee headcounts range from 89,000 (Icahn) to a modest 1,607 (INTL FCStone). The companies do, however, share one thing: a dearth of women in other top jobs. Among the 12 firms, there are just three women among the executives identified in Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
"Internationally, purple is a color for symbolizing women. Historically, the combination of purple, green and white to symbolize women’s equality originated from the Women’s Social and Political Union in the U.K. in 1908. Purple signifies justice and dignity."
Initially, IPPR says, automation could narrow the gender pay gap since it would displace women from jobs that tend to earn below-average pay. (According to the latest OECD data, the gender wage gap in the U.K. is 17.1%; in the U.S., it’s 18.9%.) But that progress would remain only if displaced women re-entered the labor market at around the new average salary for their gender. That’s unlikely, IPPR says. Some industries dominated by women (such as retail or child and elderly care) are seeing less investment in productivity-raising technology, perhaps because the current human labor is so cheap.
In July 2016, Adobe said a review of its pay practices revealed that female employees in the U.S. were earning one cent less than their male counterparts and that there was no wage gap between white and non-white workers in the U.S. Adobe’s gender pay gap at the time was tiny compared to the national average of 21%, but it vowed to close the divide nonetheless.
Path Forward announced on Tuesday that 10 new companies will be joining its ‘returnship’ program next year, including Apple, Oracle, Intuit, and Udemy. Path Forward works with companies to create ‘returnship’ positions for mid-career professionals—mainly women—who want to get back into the workplace after taking time off to care for a child, parent, or other loved one. The New York-based organization launched in March 2016 after being spun out from data provider Return Path, where it had started as an in-house initiative.
A new PwC survey of nearly 900 directors found that a majority of them—73%—recognize that diversity is beneficial. Of that segment, 94% said gender and racial diversity brings unique perspectives to the boardroom, 82% agreed that it enhances board performance, and 59% tied it to better company performance. Yet a small but startling share—16%—said that gender and racial diversity has no benefits at all. (Another 11% said his or her board didn’t have diversity and therefore didn’t remark on its upside.)