Silicon Valley firms have very few women at the top

November 14th, 2007 - 2:25 am ICT by admin  
The third annual UC Davis Study of California Women Business Leaders found that 122 of the 400 surveyed companies - 30.5 percent - listed no women executives or board members in their annual reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

It also said that telecommunications, electronics and semiconductors were the most male-dominated industries, and added that the Silicon Valley and Orange County had the highest concentrations of male-dominated firms.

The study was presented at the annual conference of the San Francisco-based Professional BusinessWomen of California, held at the Sacramento Convention Center.

Overall, women held only 10.4 percent of board seats and executive positions, virtually the same as the 10.2-percent figure reported in 2006 and 2005.

Only three percent of the surveyed companies had a female CEO, also representing no increase from the previous studies.

Leading the state in gender diversity was a Los Angeles-based firm, Nara Bancorp, which serves consumers and minority-owned businesses. Women man about 46.2 percent of the firm’s executive and board seats.

Joining Nara Bancorp in the top five companies were San Francisco-based Bare Escentuals, with women in 45.5 percent of the top spots; Bebe Stores, headquartered in Brisbane, at 43.5 percent; Hot Topic, based in City of Industry, at 36 percent; and San Diego-based Jack in the Box, at 35 percent.

In all, 25 companies with the highest percentages of women in top leadership positions received awards at a luncheon Tuesday at the PBWC conference.

“The new study by UC Davis and the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs and Executives, together with the others done at the national level, paint a disappointing picture of gender diversity in the upper echelons of corporate leadership in America,” said FEW and E CEO Wendy Beecham.

Other findings from the latest study:

Women hold 9.4 percent of the 3,283 board seats in the 400 largest public companies in California, up from 8.8 percent in 2006.

Almost half - 47 percent - of the companies have no women directors and more than a third - 34.3 percent - have only one.

Women hold 11.6 percent of the companies’ 2,878 top executive offices, down slightly from 11.7 percent in 2006.

Half - 49.8 percent - of the companies have no women in executive offices and less than a quarter - 21.9 percent - have two or more.

Only three percent of the companies have a woman serving as CEO.

Retail and finance industries had the highest percentages of women in top executive positions. Pharmaceuticals and media had the highest concentrations of women on the board.

Three fourths - 76 percent - of the telecommunications industry and two-thirds - 67 percent - of the electronics industry had all-male boards. imilarly, 73 percent of telecom companies and 83 percent of electronics companies had all-male executive teams.

The largest corporations, overall, have the most gender equity.

Among counties with more than 20 companies in the survey, San Francisco County leads the state with 16.9 percent women directors. Santa Clara County has the lowest percentage, at 7.3 percent.

San Francisco and Marin counties each have 20 percent women executives; Los Angeles has 12.5 percent; San Diego County, 10.2 percent; Orange County, 9.2 percent; and Santa Clara County (Silicon Valley), 9.1 percent. (ANI)

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