Sunday, October 30, 2011

Women on Track at US Medical Schools

The Association of American Medical Colleges annually publishes data regarding applicants and first year enrollees in US medical schools, by gender.

In 2011, women represented 47.0% (9,037) first year enrollees compared to 53.0% (10,193) for men. (Total first year enrollees were 19,230.)

In 2011, women represented 47.3% (20,780) applicants compared to 52.7% (23,135) men. (Total applicants were 43,919.)  Applicants reached an all time high in 2011.

The percentage shares of women to men in both categories have remained relatively constant over the ten year time span.

Enrollment of women has increased 16.1% since 2001, compared to an overall increase of 18.8% for men over the same period.

Women first year applicants have increased 29.1% since 2001, compared to an overall increase of 33% for men over the same period.

Age of Top Women in Leadership: US and Abroad (2011)

On October 23, 2011, Jeff Green wrote an article for stating that the ten nations in Europe that had passed or were contemplating passage of quotas requiring a minimum percentage of women on boards of directors were running so short of female top-tier executive talent that they were knocking on the doors of US firms to find women director candidates. He cited a 2010 study by executive search firm Russell-Reynolds for the European Professional Women’s Network forecasting that 1,300 new female directors would be required in the next three to five years at 334 companies in 17 countries if a 40% requirement were to prevail. (In that same study, few note that Norway actually experienced a drop in women directors in 2010.)

At around the same time, Fortune magazine came out with their October 17, 2011 issue containing “The 50 Most Powerful Women” (51 if you include Susan Lynn who is the center stage interview in this issue) and “The 50 Most Powerful International Women.” 

This year, we decided to compare the ages of the women from each list to see if there might emerge any patterns that could explain why European countries would have a scarcity of women executives, yet American firms could have an apparent surplus of women (or at least enough for Europeans to tap).  Fortune provided only the age data point. It does not as yet consider their educational credentials to be significant enough to mention.  The two charts below summarize the different age profiles of top tier women in each of the two lists.

Women from American companies have an age span of 25 years.  The data shows that most US women in top leaders were born between 1943 and 1953 -- women aged 58 to 68 years. The curve peaks at just above three representing a top annual number, while the inflection point (going from positive to negative) is between 1947 and 1948.

Contrast this data with that of the women from International companies.  First, their age span is much wider, going from 1939 to 1974 -- a span of 39 years.  So, International firms have both older and younger women than does the US.  Second, the data shows a smattering of older women up until 1952, with a higher concentration of women in leadership between 1953 and 1965, so that women aged 46 to 58 dominate the International top tier -- about a dozen years younger than the US list. The annual peak is much lower at two women per year, while the inflection point is about twelve years later, between 1959 and 1960.  International women leaders are fewer and younger in comparison to US women leaders.

The next chart shows the country of origin of the Fortune 50 International women leaders.  China overwhelmingly dominates the list as the primary source of global talent with eight women represented. France is second with seven women on the top International leadership list. Britain and India follow in third place with six women leaders each. Singapore is next with three, followed by Australia, Germany, Hong Kong and Japan with two women in leadership each. After that, twelve nations have just one woman in top leadership each.  It should be noted that twelve (24%) of the Fortune top 50 International women work at US companies based overseas.

An analysis of the average age of each country’s top women in leadership reveals that China’s eight women averaged 52.9 years of age, France’s women averaged 51.7 years, Britain’s averaged 54 years, India’s averaged 52.8 years while Singapore’s is 53.3 years. Japan’s average age of women leaders is the oldest at 61 years (2 women), while the age of Israel’s sole woman leader is the youngest at 37 years.

The overall average age of all women on the US top 51 list was 52 years, while the overall average age of all women on the International top 50 list was 52.4 years. 

Separately, Fortune reported that 18 (36%) of the 50 US women in leadership received MBAs, while 39 (78%) have advanced degrees. Five of the MBAs are from Harvard, two are from Wharton, one each from Stanford, Northwestern, University of Chicago, Cornell, Yale, UCLA, Columbia, MIT, Southern Methodist University, Rutgers, and University of South Africa.  Three women graduated from law schools: Southern Methodist University Law School, University of Pennsylvania Law School, and University of Connecticut Law School.  Three women received advanced degrees in engineering, or computer science: Masters in Computer Science from Stanford University, Masters in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University, and Masters in Engineering from UCLA.

Meanwhile, age is an interesting indicator which suggests some significant differences between US and International firms, at least as to their propensity to bring on women of competence representing different age groups.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Directorship Reports on Board Nominations and CFO Promotions

The NACD Directorship magazine reports on new director nominations and includes many quotes from the CEOs or Chairmen concerning the board's reasons for including each director.  See: October 2011.

Interesting is that 32.8% of the new director announcements were women (19 out of 58) , while 33.3% of the new CFO promotions were women (4 out of 12).
This reaffirms the data we've been hearing from Director & Boards magazine.  It's significantly higher than the typical reports from Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 firms because it includes many smaller public and private companies. This is where most new business growth is occurring and that is an area that attracts talented women today.

Noteworthy is the fact that NACD Directorship quotes the CEO/Chairman's reason for including the new director on board -- emphasizing talent and competence more than specifics of diversity. The NACD Directorship could separate out their listings of board nominations from CFO promotions, as Alice Krause does in her blog --

Friday, October 21, 2011

Daughter Dearest’s Guilt Trip

I’ve heard the argument more than once, now.  It goes something like this: “I’ve worked hard, but the most difficult challenge I’ve faced is the statement from my daughter that I didn’t spend enough time with her, that I came home from work tired, and that--now that she has children--she’s going to stay at home and spend time with them.”

I don’t begrudge any woman the opportunity to stay home and spend time with her children, if she can make that choice.  I do take issue with any child, especially a daughter, laying a guilt trip on a working mother without walking a mile in her shoes. Not only does Daughter Dearest have no right to behave in that ungrateful manner, but also my friend, Working Mom, should simply not let DD get away with it.

Of course, it’s easy for me to say that because I come from a family where--when I tried to lay a guilt trip on my mother because she didn’t pay me the quarter to help her clean the house while the neighbor did--my father straightened me out by saying, “You eat here, don’t you??” In other words, I came from tougher times.  My mother was a stay-at-home-mom who raised six kids--all of whom had the opportunity to go on to college and/or graduate school.  My mother “worked at home” and kept the financial books for my father’s several apartment buildings and commercial stores. I know what it’s like to think that I knew more than she did--but I learned that that wasn’t necessarily true. 

The working woman I mentioned happens to be the one who still cooks the major holiday meals for their very large extended family--including Daughter Dearest, her husband and children. Working Mom comes to the business daily, often staying late to close, to keep the family business viable--something that made it possible for Daughter Dearest to have that incredible graduate degree and earn that fantastic 21st century income. I’ve seen Working Mom come to work wearing a cast on her hand. I’ve seen her accommodate irate, impatient customers.  I’ve seen her deal with difficult employees--all with grace and dignity. 

Also, I have seen women of her era and culture back in the Middle East, basically bound to the kitchen and expected to behave as if they were the property of her husband--because that is exactly what they were.  My friend, Working Mom, set a better and more modern role model and example for her daughter.  My friend, Working Mom, is a peer to her partner/husband--on the job and in the home.

If Daughter Dearest wants the world my friend inherited and overcame, there are plenty of countries in the Middle East where she could go experience the joys of that 18th Century life. If Daughter Dearest wants to spend time with her kids, she is more than welcome to do so.  But, she has no right to slap her Working Mom in the face with the ungracious comment that Mom didn’t give her enough of what she wanted.  I suspect that the little princess would never feel she was getting sufficient attention, no matter how much time Mom dedicated to her. 

The message she will instill in HER children will reflect her “reverse-guilt:” “See how much time I’m spending with you, dedicated to your care, sacrificing my time for YOU?  Now, don’t your feel grateful to me, your dedicated Mother?”  What kind of example does that present? I can just imagine how her kids will ricochet off of that stifling coddling. 

In interviewing women who happen to be both leaders and working mothers, I’ve seen how many of them have raised children “of whom they are incredibly proud.” Some of them traveled extensively. Others worked long hours, coming home both late and tired.  Rather than beat up on Working Mom, DD can learn from the powerful lessons of women in leadership.

First, they say “Talk!” Keep the dialog going with spouse and children about what your work is, what it means to you, and what it means for the family.

Second, get help. You are not in this alone--there are great early childhood education centers, schools, nannies, and extended family members. And a great spouse is, first and foremost, a great partner in the totality of the family obligations. The challenge is to delegate appropriately to the right support network.

Third, recognize that women are passionate about many things: work, family, community, society, and their own interests and purpose.  A multifaceted mind requires extraordinary self-management skills in order to keep from overwhelming yourself with demands, change and content generated from all those multiple sources.  Recognition of that reality is an essential step forward in the journey toward a satisfactory, personal sense of balance.  Nobody can give you the perfect solution--it is a journey you must travel. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Overcoming the Gender Gap

By Lesa Mitchell, Vice President, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation (September 2011)

The latest report from the Kauffman Foundation is one of the best they’ve written to date.
Is it a no-nonsense look at the contemporary impact of women entrepreneurs on the US economy, as start-up entrepreneurs, employer firms, and as high growth success stories.  All of these are unrealized potentials. 

Principle author, Lesa Mitchell -- vice president of the Kauffman Foundation -- takes a straight-forward approach to the facts -- what does it mean for the American economy if women don’t build “real” businesses as contrasted with “hobby or lifestyle businesses”? What does it mean for our growth profile as a nation if women don’t hire workers on a par with their male peers?  What are the implications for personal wealth and long-term well-being if women don’t enter all industry sectors of the economy for which they have been prepared intellectually, academically, and professionally?

This report should be on the recommended reading list of women entrepreneur groups, women’s executive groups, women in business advocates, and women angel and venture capital proponents. 

Good job, very well done on a very important issue.

Press release:

Full report (.pdf):