Cover Story: Business Week/Harris Executive Poll
POLL: THE GAINS ARE SLOW, SAY MANY WOMEN
It's a telling sign of frustration: The women executives in BUSINESS WEEK's poll are succeeding in Corporate America, but they still see obstacles and discrimination all around them. A majority says there's a "glass ceiling" at their companies, where 70% also say a male-dominated culture is an impediment to women. And 57% say the rate of progress for corporate women has slowed down or stopped altogether. No wonder they're feeling militant: Fully 76% say women should take legal action when they see discrimination.
RATING THE WORKPLACE
How would you rate large corporations generally as a place for women executives such as yourself to work--excellent, pretty good, only fair, or poor?
How would you rate your own company as a place for women such as yourself to work?
Large corporations Own company
Excellent 8% 34%
Pretty good 60% 49%
Only fair 28% 16%
Poor 1% 1%
Not sure 4% 0%
Do you prefer to work for a man or a woman, or doesn't it make any difference to you?
A man 12%
A woman 2%
Makes no difference 83%
Not sure 3%
Compared to five years ago, how do you think large companies are doing in relation to the hiring and promotion of women executives--much better, somewhat better, the same, somewhat worse, or much worse?
Much better 16%
Somewhat better 48%
The same 29%
Somewhat worse 5%
Much worse 1%
Not sure 1%
MEN HAVE AN EDGE
In your company today, would you say that women have the same chance as equally qualified men to be promoted to senior management positions, or not? Same chance
to be promoted 46%
Not the same chance 53%
Not sure 1%
SALARIES ARE SKEWED
If women get promoted to senior management positions, do you think they will be paid a higher salary, a lower salary, or the same salary as men in those positions?
Paid higher salary 0%
Lower salary 63%
Same salary 36%
Not sure 1%
PLENTY OF ROADBLOCKS
Would you say the following are obstacles to success for women executives at your company or not?
Is Is not Not
obstacle obstacle sure
A glass ceiling or a point beyond which women never seem to advance
56% 41% 3%
The tendency to put women in token positions without any real power or operating authority 23% 77% 0%
A male-dominated corporate culture
70% 30% 0%
TIME TO TAKE A STAND
Do you agree or disagree with each of the following strategies?
Agree Disagree Not sure
Women executives should not make waves but do a good job and expect equal recognition and promotion 34% 63% 3%
Women should build networks with other women to help each other
83% 15% 2%
Women should demand that their companies have specific written policies for the hiring and promotion of women executives
34% 64% 2%
Women should take a strong public stand on the hiring and promotion of women executives 70% 27% 3%
Women should take legal action including filing lawsuits or regulatory complaints when they see evidence of discrimination
76% 20% 4%
If your company had to choose between two equally qualified candidates for a promotion--a man and a woman--who do you think would get the job, the man or the woman? Man 51%
Not sure 36%
Which one of the four following statements best describes how large American companies are doing in relation to hiring and promotion of women executives?
They are still making real improvements 39%
The rate of progress has slowed down 52%
There are no longer any improvements 5%
Things are getting worse 2%
Not sure 2%
Survey of 400 women executives at corporations with $100 million or more in annual sales. Interviews were conducted Apr. 14-21, 1992, for BUSINESS WEEK by Louis Harris & Associates Inc.Edited by Mark N. Vamos