Erasing the gender paradox in corporate America
U.S. business suffers from a gender paradox. Studies show companies with gender parity on boards and in the executive ranks outperform male-dominated ones. Yet, women represent only 9 percent of top management positions and 5 percent of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.
University of Michigan business law professor Cindy Schipani and colleague Terry Dworkin of Indiana University and Seattle University say companies can improve gender representation and narrow the pay gap by changing salary and mentoring practices. They also suggest a legal tweak that would encourage companies to promote women.
“This gender paradox is continually puzzling to me because the evidence is overwhelming that companies with women in the C-suite perform better,” Schipani said. “The business case is well established, but we’re not seeing it happen.”
The legal reform they suggest is for courts to consider the lack of women in leadership positions a presumption of discrimination.