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Earlier this year the Chartered Management Institute released research revealing that gender pay equality among managers could be 98 years away.

The 7th annual UC Davis Study of California Women Business Leaders paints a similarly bleak picture. It reveals that less than 10% of the 400 largest public companies based in California has a female chief executive. Despite efforts to improve gender equality, this rate has improved by just 0.2% in the last year.

In addition, the study shows that over a third of the biggest companies in California have no women on their board of directors. This is a group that represents nearly $3 trillion of shareholder value.

“Having more women involved at the highest levels of business management and corporate governance brings greater diversity of thinking styles, industry knowledge, educational background and career experience,” says Steven Currall, professor of management at University of California, Davis. “Yet we continue to find disappointingly small proportions of women in leadership roles in what is widely regarded as a progressive, trend-setting state.

“There are plenty of qualified women to hire and promote,” Currall continued, “but the vast majority of the 400 largest public companies in the state don’t seem to recognize that. Our mission is to change that.”

Key findings of the study

  • Women hold just under 10% of board level positions.
  • Thirty-four percent of the biggest 400 companies have no women on their board of directors.
  • Women accounted for just 9.2% of the 1,925 highest paid executives at these companies.
  • Not one company looked at had a gender balanced board.
  • Tech companies provide 40% of the worst performing companies for gender equality.

The study was conducted in partnership with Watermark, a Bay Area non-profit that offers support to executive women.

“Women are the next global economy. They make up a majority of the work force in nine of the ten occupations that will add the most jobs in the next eight years,” says Marilyn Nagel, CEO of Watermark.

“Despite this, women still represent a significant minority on boards. There are many qualified women capable of serving on boards who are not currently getting those roles.”

Adi Gaskell is a manager at Process Excellence Network

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