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.


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%


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%


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%


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%


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%

Woman 13%

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.

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