Overall, on a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is parity with men, women scored 5.06 measuring such variables as venture capital, gender wage gap, women on corporate boards, women in top corporate positions, number of women-owned businesses, and size of women-owned firms.
Women show progress in only two areas: (1) as keynote speakers and (2) as chair of charities and foundations. Women showed an absolute decline in their access to venture capital compared to a year ago.
I’m not sure that chairing a charity or foundation is a real measure of “business clout”. Nor am I persuaded that women as keynote speakers is a measure of clout rather than corporate unemployment these days. If we’re going to include charity leadership and the often thank-less jobs heading (usually non-profit, low-compensation) foundations, why not include some measures from sports which represent a major selection of the contemporary business economy (i.e., golf, tennis, anything ending in –ball) as well as a major indicator of female inate abilities.
For example, we could include the percentage of women entering and/or finishing the top major marathons at major metropolitan areas. Women tend to be at about 40 to 45% of marathon contenders, so the parity measure would be somewhere around 80 to 90% for a change. This would show us that, if you give women an equal chance and no barriers to entry, they can train and compete.
Or, we could even use marathon records for the top ten women and the top ten men. Again, the woman’s best world record time for a marathon, today, is 2:15:25 compared to the men’s best time of 2:04:55 –- a difference of merely 10 minutes and 30 seconds – giving us a parity ratio of 92%. Now you’re talking.
We could also compare the top tennis winnings for males vs. females and see how the big leagues pay off. First, women have achieved parity with men among the top ten earning positions. Second, their total winnings by gender average about 72% for the women compared to 100% parity for men. But, still not too shabby a performance by the women (2005), especially when you consider that 39% of the men’s earning were taken in by one man, Andre Agassi:
- Andre Agassi - $26.2 M
- Maria Sharapova - $18.2 M
- Roger Federer - $14.0 M
- Serena Williams - $12.7 M
- Lleyton Hewitt - $10.3 M
- Andy Roddick - $9.7 M
- Rafael Nadal - $7.2 M
- Venus Williams - $6.5 M
- Lindsay Davenport - $6.0 M
- Anna Kournikova - $5.0 M
Maybe we really should start including the share of federal contracts that go to women-owned businesses – 3% compared to the legally mandated 5% (WOW, be still my heart!) authorized by Congress, but totally ignored by the Small Business Administration.
Or maybe we really should include the share of women participating in tax-supported athletic programs at public education institutions across the nation. Wouldn’t it be nice to start tracking that data, nationally? Or do we want to just wait until the Department of Education finishes their job of totally abandoning Title IX support?
What you measure, you manage. What you manage, you tend to achieve. When you neither measure nor manage toward equitable goals, you achieve neither.