Women may make up a majority of buyers of consumer goods, but they certainly don’t represent a majority of the decision makers at consumer goods companies. University of California, Davis’ annual study of women business leaders at the state’s largest 400 public companies has hammered that point home.
The study found that women hold 10.9 percent of the highest-paid executive posts and board seats at these companies, an increase of 1 percent from last year. More than a quarter of the companies have no women in either role. Wet Seal Inc., a Foothill Ranch, Calif.-based operator of 530 clothing stores, was a notable exception. Tied with natural foods company Annie’s Inc. at the top of the list of 25 California companies that are the most gender inclusive, four of the seven people who sit on Wet Seal’s board are women.
Other companies in the top 25 were Bebe Stores Inc., Deckers Outdoor Corp. and Williams-Sonoma Inc., which filled three out its five highest-paid executive positions with women.
On the flip side, Pacific Sunwear of California Inc., Skechers USA Inc., True Religion Apparel Inc. and Quiksilver Inc. are among those companies found to have no women on their boards. Big 5 Sporting Goods Corp., Guess Inc., Macerich Co., Quiksilver Inc. and Skechers USA Inc. were listed as companies with no women in the highest-paid executive positions.
Thirteen of the 400 California companies in the study had female chief executive officers, but Laura Alber, ceo of Williams-Sonoma, was the only woman ceo of a consumer goods firm.
In total, 14.6 percent of the board directors at leading California-based public companies in the consumer goods sector were women. Almost 70 percent of the consumer goods companies in California tracked for the study did have at least one woman board member. When it comes to highest-paid executives, 46 percent of the consumer goods companies had one or more women in those posts.
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