THE CONCRETE CEILING

Caytalyst reports that women held only 3% of the "clout" positions in corporate America. Even those who are senior managers earn only 60% of what white women earn, and more than half of all black women who work full-time earn less than $25,000 a year. A mere 11% of the Fortune 500's corporate officers are female. Among high-tech companies, that figure is only 7 percent. As for seats on corporate boards, at the rate women are added these days, there won't be parity until the year 2064. Two corporations stand out: IBM, which doubled the number of women of color executives between 1995 and 1998, and Motorola, which increased its number of women vice presidents from 1 in 1991 to 11 in 1998.

Is it different in other countries? In Sweden, a country we like to think of as progressive, women scientists earn nearly half of the doctorates in the biomedical sciences, but have been less than half as successful as men in getting postdoctoral fellowships. Two factors determine the outcome: being male and knowing a reviewer. Researchers found that a woman needed to be not twice as good as a man to get in, but rather 2.5 times as good to be rated as equal to a male candidate.


Open Doors
The job market for women in information technology couldn't be better, at least at executive levels. Although the industry is male-dominated, and women have to deal with corporate politics, technical support and service--helping clients set up, implement, and expand their Internet presence--provide real opportunities. Best of all may be tech sales, where at least one expert claims that women can distinguish themselves without the usual gender or pay gaps. The newest advice? Don't let a lack of confidence do you in. Trumpet your accomplishments. Word gets around, and finds its way to the top before you know it. And check out Women in Technology International at www.witi.org.

-- excerpted from Bob Weinstein's Tech Watch, SF Examiner, July 25, 1999.




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