The UC Davis Graduate School of Management is another step closer to breaking the glass ceiling.
The Financial Times ranked the GSM number one with the highest percentage of full-time female faculty members amongst the world’s top business schools.
“We have an open-minded faculty that looks for the very best candidates, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity or any other irrelevant status characteristic, when hiring new colleagues,” said Donald Palmer, professor of management and sociology in the GSM, in an email interview.
Palmer and Brad Barber, professor of management, conducted a study in October that found similar results. They analyzed the representation of women in 400 US business schools in 2002-2009 accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and found that UC Davis had the highest percentage of women faculty with 35.7 percent. This year, The Financial Times found that the 42 percent of the GSM’s faculty were female.
Palmer believes the GSM’s high percentage is in part because the school hired strong women faculty members in its formative years, who then helped recruit new faculty members.
“I’d like to think that having more women faculty members helps the GSM attract more women students,” he said. “That both helps us produce more effective women business leaders, who will be the ones to tackle the glass ceiling problem in the course of their careers.”
In Barber and Palmer’s study, women were a distinct minority in business schools, representing 25 percent of all faculty members in 2009. The percentage of women faculty members has been increasing, though.
“As is the case in many professions, we suspect this trend will continue,” they said in their study.
In November, the GSM and the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs and Executives published the annual “UC Davis Study of California Women Business Leaders: A Census of Women Directors and Executive Officers,” detailing the presence of women in leadership positions in the 400 largest, publicly held corporations in California.
“It’s clear that women continue to be an untapped resource,” the study read. “The same innovative thinking that drives the world’s eighth largest economy is not propelling women into top leadership positions at the largest public companies.”
The census showed that women hold 10.6 percent of the board seats and top executive officer positions, with 15 out of the 400 surveyed companies having a female CEO.
It’s important for corporations to hire women for not just equity reasons, Palmer said.
“There is growing evidence to suggest that women and men make decisions in different ways,” he said. “And some of this evidence suggests that women are more prudent balancers of the risk/return equation.”
The census also presents evidence that suggests firms where women are at the top are more environmentally sustainable.
The 2009 census marked the fifth census, and the data over the years has not changed dramatically.
Over the past year, the presence of women in board seats and top executive officer positions dropped from 10.9 percent in 2008 to 10.6 percent in 2009. Additionally, the percentage of women directors dropped slightly from 10 percent to 9.8 percent.
The census suggests that processes responsible for gender imbalance at the top are endemic to the large corporations, Palmer said.
“And large organizations are notoriously resistant to change,” he said.
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