Companies where women have clout


Ex woman


My friend has been complaining that women at her company just don't seem to advance. When promotions are announced, the CEO has all kinds of praise for her male co-worker, who often is less qualified than she is for the promotion. She wants to work for a company where women have clout.

You would think that by 2014, the description would be just about any workplace. Of course, that's not the case, which is why the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE) has gone to the trouble of researching which companies give women the best shot at climbing the corporate ladder. It has released its list of Top 50 Companies for Executive Women.

The 50 companies on NAFE’s list are all places where women are progressing more quickly than in the rest of corporate America.

Looking over the list, I like what Accenture is doing. At Accenture, female managing directors and senior managers regularly connect with top execs and devise long-range career plans. They also participate in multi-day sessions on “Maximizing Your Career” to sharpen their skills and prepare them for advancement. 

We all know it takes more than just conversation for women to advance. Reason for cheer: women are helping other women, or at least setting good enough examples that the doors are open for others.

“NAFE sees some good news from our analysis of companies where women succeed,” says Dr. Betty Spence, NAFE President. “Women at these companies are reaching a critical mass where they can support, sponsor, and advance their female colleagues, and as a result, we see a measurable increase in the number of women running operations. We expect this trend to continue.”


Compared with last year’s data:


  • Top earners at the winning companies grew to 35% in 2014 from 32% in 2013.
  • At the NAFE Top Companies female representation among executives responsible for at least a billion dollars in revenue a year increased to 25% from 23% two years ago.
  • Sixty percent of the companies now offer sponsorship programs compared with 42% last year, while 96% offer job rotations, up from 80% in 2013.


Those numbers indicate women are making progress in Corporate America! Yay!

Take a look inside First Horizon National which landed on the list.  The financial services company has a significant number of women who are long term employees and in key positions. During talent reviews, management specifically identifies female successors to important positions, preparing them with its Emerging Leaders development program. “It provided an opportunity to broaden my network, build my skill set and gain insight from best-in-class coaches,” says Nancy Brown, SVP and consumer loan manager, who’s been at First Horizon National for 25 years.

What's interesting to me is that even tech companies and car manufacturers are on the list — industries that haven't been so great about promoting women in the past. 

It may take awhile, but change is in the air.

Working Mother Magazine notes: "As women continue to fight corporate gender bias nationwide, these winning companies fight to help their female staffers reach the upper ranks."

So, what's going inside your workplace? Would it, should it, land on this list? Are women being groomed to become leaders and if so, are they bringing other women up with them? 


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