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Women Make Little Progress Atop Fortune 500 in 2012

U.S. News

Women remain a scarcity in the top rungs of Corporate America. Females held only 14.3 percent of executive officer positions at Fortune 500 companies in 2012, a smidge more than in 2011, according to 2012 Catalyst Census, a report from nonprofit Catalyst, which promotes women in business. Women at these companies also only held fewer than 1 in 5 board of director positions, at 16.6 percent—reflecting only half a percentage point of growth over 2011. And more than one-quarter of Fortune 500 companies had no women executive officers.


The problem may simply be lots of talk without any action, says one expert, and it makes for problems far below the C-suite level.

"It's not just about the glass ceiling. There's a gender gap in terms of wages up and down the economic spectrum and across races," says Sharon Lerner, a senior fellow at Demos, a left-leaning think tank, and author of The War on Moms, a book on the struggles of American working mothers. "It persists because we're not doing anything about it. Talking about it is one thing."