Retailers, CPG Cos. Make List for Promoting Females

Discussion
Mar 08, 2006
George Anderson

By George Anderson


Federated Department Stores, Liz Claiborne, Gap Inc,. Colgate-Palmolive, General Mills, IBM and Procter & Gamble are the top 30 companies for executive women, according to an annual poll by the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE).


“Because women now hold managerial positions at most American companies, women’s advancement remains a problem that many don’t recognize as one,” said Dr. Betty Spence, President of NAFE, in a released statement. “In organizations where women are truly succeeding – where we find women running divisions and country operations – they have implemented tough measures, like having the board review succession planning and compensation for gender equity, and holding managers accountable with their own advancement and pay. These are policies with teeth, and I look forward to the day when all companies follow the lead of the NAFE Top 30.”


The NAFE reports that leading companies in its polling share common best practices, including: conducting employee surveys to determine satisfaction with advancement opportunities; reviewing compensation data based on gender; making changes to policies and practices based on survey results; rewarding managers for helping women to advance their careers and holding them responsible for not.


Federated Department Stores was among the top retailers recognized by the NAFE.


“We are proud of the women represented at all levels of Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, from the senior-most P&L positions and other key decision-making roles to our sales associates,” said Corliss Fong, operating vice president for diversity management at Federated in a released statement. “These women are essential to our success in the marketplace: in providing the best shopping experience for our customers, creating the best work environment for our employees, and inspiring the best results for our business.”


According to a company release, women account for about 70 percent of all management positions with the department store operator and more than half of senior management is made up of females. 


Moderator’s Comment: How much progress has been made at retail in removing the glass ceiling? Do retailers with broad female participation in all levels
of management have an advantage in attracting and keeping women shoppers as customers?


According to the NAFE, women make up less than two percent of CEOs and ten percent of line managers in Fortune 500 companies.
George Anderson – Moderator

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7 Comments on "Retailers, CPG Cos. Make List for Promoting Females"


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Warren Thayer
Guest
15 years 1 day ago

NAFE is doing great work, and more companies should be paying attention. My view is that we’ve come a long way, and have a long way yet to go, which is sort of unbelievable after all these years. It makes sense to have more women in senior management at stores where women are the primary shoppers. (Duh!) I’m not even going to touch on whether or not women should be more involved in senior management or paid more equitably, because I think that just discussing the “two sides” of the idea would seem ignorant and insulting. (There’s only one side, folks.)

Camille P. Schuster, PhD.
Guest
15 years 1 day ago

These companies made a conscious choice to pay attention to the issue. Many retailers are so enmeshed in day-to-day issues that they don’t take time to look at the big picture for creating a seamless supply chain or organizing their business around consumers. Thinking about gender equality is one of a number of issues that get ignored or superficial treatment.

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
15 years 1 day ago
This topic somehow aroused a philosophic dimension in me. You asked, “Has progress been made at retail in removing the glass ceiling?” That could depend, to some degree, on how one evaluates progress. We know that change is certain; progress is not. The march of the human mind (okay, the male mind) can be slow or else this topic would not exist. Women are moving forward and upward in retailing today but is the pace fast enough or fair enough? This creates a puzzlement. At what percentage level of female penetration of the glass ceiling will we judge that the glass ceiling has been removed — 50%, 75%, 100%? And if reaches one of those majority levels will the glass ceiling then translate over into a male cause and a future inquiry? As to whether women execs gaining broad participation at all management levels in running the retail world will create an advantage in gaining and keeping female customers, well…probably. But only when all that eventually falls into place will we learn its true value.… Read more »
David Livingston
Guest
15 years 1 day ago

I don’t believe retailers with broad female participation in all levels of management have an advantage in attracting and keeping women shoppers as customers any more than men dominated companies have an advantage in attracting and keeping male shoppers. By the way, what does “broad female participation” mean? If it means that make-work jobs were created and given management titles (i.e. Vice President for Diversity Management), then little progress has been made to remove the glass ceiling. For a female aspiring to move up the corporate ladder, holding a management title at one of the companies recognized by NAFE might end up having little to no resume value if these companies are only handing out titles without responsibility. There might actually be many more companies who do a far more superior job promoting women than the companies listed by NAFE, except those companies did not bother to fill out NAFE’s application. Of course, only companies who filled out the application were recognized.

Gwen Kelly
Guest
Gwen Kelly
15 years 1 day ago

Warren, you have said it all and quite succinctly….’nuff said!

Ganapathy Subramanian
Guest
Ganapathy Subramanian
15 years 6 hours ago

As of today’s retail world, bringing women to senior positions is a must to big players. Generally women are much much sincere than men in so many ways.

They approach things differently and positively. They can do more wonders if chances are given. Many women are aggressive. They did not get bored on their jobs like men .

Especially in retail, women become suited to jobs more quickly than men. I am working in INDIA in a retail company in a senior position. We have lots of women working, even on the retail floor. When we watch them carefully, women mingle with customers comfortably; they convince the customers much faster than men.

In the long run, giving top position to women in retail will enhance the business.

Mark Lilien
Guest
15 years 6 hours ago

Of course there should be gender equality and diversity should be the rule at all levels. But it’s unreasonable to expect diversity to always triumph, profit-wise. Albertson’s board was half female and the company’s performance wasn’t very good, in spite of the majority-female shopper profile. Carly Fiorentina’s performance at HP was considered unacceptable. The big picture: most retailing CEOs are white men and most retailing boards are white male majorities. How many decades will it take before the CEO and board demographics reflect the demographics of the country? As a comparison, it’s been 32 years since the 1964 Civil Rights Act. How much progress was made in the those 3 decades? How many people of color are CEOs in the S+P 500?

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