There have been some tremendous strides over the years in the move toward hiring women for top executive positions. Gone are the days when being a woman was a disability in the rise to the top of the corporate ladder. However, it seems that there is still a long way to go and some studies are actually attesting to quite the opposite trend, indicating that the growth of women in leadership roles is happening at a much slower rate.
Still on the positive side of things, we do see these new hires. Natalie Ravitz – a former Chief of Staff at News Corp for Rupert Murdoch – was just appointed Senior VP of Communications at the NFL. Ravitz will be bringing “more political experience to the league office,” aiding the NFL in its PR challenges.
In addition, Erin Riley was recently hired by TBWA\Chiat\Day to be President of the firm’s LA office. She comes from a prestigious role at Old Navy, where she was VP of Marketing and Brand Engagement, and, before that, VP of Global Marketing at Cole Haan. Despite the fact that Riley therefore shows immense experience in the field and is thus extremely suited to the role, the firm itself has a goal of increasing the number of women in key roles by 20 percent before 2020. As part of that endeavor, the Take the Lead project was released on International Women’s Day in March. This project was a culmination of quotes from women which were read by over 100 male employees “in an effort to directly address the unique challenges female professionals face in the advertising industry.”
So there is movement – at least in some firms – toward an increased female presence in top roles in business. There is still much work to be done, since just last year, CNNMoney analysis reported that “only 14.2% of the top five leadership positions at the companies in the S&P 500 are held by women.” From 500 top US companies, only 24 are led by women. Let’s just hope therefore, that Ravitz and Riley became the exception, not the rule.