Index: Women Are 20 Years Away From Business Parity With Men

April 29, 2003 ( - A measure of women's overall influence in the business world increased approximately 8% in 2002, putting parity with men in terms of business clout more than 20 years away.

Despite the gains, the 2003 Committee of 200 (C200) Business Leadership Index still shows businesswomen are less than halfway toward parity with their male counterparts. The index, sponsored by The Committee of 200 (C200), tracks businesswomen’s movement toward, or away from, parity with their male counterparts, according to a news release.

“A year-over-year 8% uptick is significant, especially with the lackluster economy. Women are clearly working harder than ever, and beginning to earn more responsibility as senior managers. But parity in the corporate world remains unobtainable. Corporations need to do more to get women into important line positions and onto boards. And for their part, women must continue to take risks, showcase their skills and push the envelope to get the recognition and responsibility they deserve,” says Connie Duckworth, Chair of The Committee of 200.

During 2002, the Fortune 500 Corporate Officer benchmark increased 21% to 3.36, up from 2.78 in the previous year (10 equals parity). If the current trend continues, women could have equal representation as officers in Fortune 500 companies by 2014. Other increases were seen in the Fortune 500 Board Seats benchmark and the Line/Staff Ratio benchmark, up 4% and 5%, respectively. However, despite the increase, parity is 60 years and 14 away, respectively, by these measures.

Despite these gains, according to the Committee of 200 Business Leadership Index, women lost ground in three areas:

  • venture capital funding
  • company size (number of employees at women-owned companies)
  • keynote speakers at top-10 annual conferences.

The Committee of 200 is an organization of businesswomen with a mission to exemplify and promote entrepreneurship and corporate leadership among women. More information can be found at .