LedBetter Names Top Gender-in-Business News Stories to Watch in 2017

Tracking the Top Stories Shaping Gender Diversity Conversations in Q1

As the first quarter of 2017 comes to a close, there have already been seismic shifts across the business sector related to gender in leadership and gender relations. Today, LedBetter, a research group tracking gender in corporate leadership and its implications, is publishing its list of the most influential of these changes and stories to watch going into Q2.

Mattel— owner of popular toy brands American Girl and Barbie, which are predominantly marketed to girls — made headlines when it named Margaret “Margo” Georgiadis its CEO in January. While the company is overseen by a board that is 30% female, Georgiadis remains the only woman among the company’s team of six executive leaders, LedBetter data showed.

Electric car maker Tesla Motors has been in the news for less flattering reasons recently. A female engineer, AJ Vandermeyden, sued the company for sexual harassment and sexism, telling the Guardian that Tesla fostered a culture of “pervasive harassment.” The same story noted the dearth of women among the company’s leadership — including all male chief executives, and just one woman on the company’s seven-member board of directors.

Uber, which has been rocked by allegations of rampant and unaddressed sexual harassment, will make public an internal investigation at the end of April. The company did not respond to multiple requests for data on its board and executive team, but in a “Diversity at Uber” report released at the end of March, the company indicated just 22% of its leadership is female — though the report included only percentages, not raw numbers.

In February, Signet Jewelers, which operates omnipresent U.S. jewelry store chains Jared the Galleria of Jewelry and Kay Jewelers, was in the news after hundreds of former employees alleged the company’s “chief executive and other company leaders presided over a corporate culture that fostered rampant sexual harassment and discrimination.”

While women make up one-third of Signet’s board of directors, just two of its eight executive leaders are female. For a company that carpet-bombs commercial breaks with reminders to women (and their partners) that “every kiss begins with Kay,” the allegations from so many female employees are especially damning.

Yahoo, which is in the process of being acquired by Verizon, will lose its female CEO Marissa Mayer. The renamed entity she will leave behind, Altaba, will be run by male CEO Thomas McInerney, who will be paid twice what Mayer was paid. LedBetter is closely watching leadership changes at this company following the acquisition.

Chico’s FAS, which owns women’s apparel brands Chico’s, White House Black Market, and Soma, noted in a recent press release that for a sixth consecutive year, it’s being recognized by 2020 Women on Boards for having a diverse board of directors. The numbers back it up: four of the company’s nine board members are women, and eight of its 11 executive leaders are women, including CEO Shelley Broader.

LedBetter also applauds Intel for recently achieving 100% pay equity for women and minorities. Its leadership consists of a 15% female board and a 19% female executive team.

About LedBetter
 LedBetter is a research group based in San Francisco that runs a database and application showcasing the number of women in leadership at the world’s top consumer brands and companies. Its mission is to empower and educate consumers, policymakers, leaders, journalists and others about the companies they support and cover, and improve the public’s understanding of which companies promote gender equality in leadership. It is the recipient of a grant from the International Women’s Media Foundation.