Women and Performance in Corporate America

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Ragnar Storaasli

First Committee Member

Laura Meyer

Second Committee Member

Steve Portenga


Social role, Psychological aspects, Glass ceiling, Employment discrimination

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


Women and Performance in Corporate America The glass ceiling has been shattered. Women like Indra Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo.; Angela Braly, the CEO of Wellpoint; and Patricia Woertz, the CEO of Archer Daniels Midland, are proof that women can achieve top leadership positions in corporate America. However, the scarcity of female leaders occupying the top ranks of corporate America, and the significant wage gap between men and women, suggest that there are significant complications along the path toward success for women in the corporate world.The data show that a disproportionately small number of women are making it to top leadership positions in corporate America. According to the US Department of Labor, in 2007 women accounted for 46% of the total work force, and 51 % of all workers in management, professional, and related occupations. Women outnumbered men in occupations including financial managers, human resource managers, education administrators, medical and health service managers, accountants and auditors, budget analysts, and property, real estate, and social and community association managers (US Department of Labor, 2007). However, women hold only 15.2% of board director positions, 15.7% of corporate officer positions, and 6.2% of top earner positions (Catalyst, 2009b). Additionally, according to a 2008 Corporate Library survey, only 2.6% of Fortune 500 companies currently have female CEOs (as cited in Jones, 2009).The data also show that women earn less than men in the work force. The US Department of Labor found that women working full time in 2007 made only 80% of the salaries of men (US Department of Labor, 2008). Studies designed to control for factors other than gender have not been able to account for the wage gap between men and women (Eagly & Carli, 2007, US Government Accountability Office, 2003). Even among CEO's of fortune 500 companies, female CEO's make only 85% of the salaries of male CEO's (Jones, 2009).


54 pages

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