Chico's Coconut Point storefront.

BEST COMPANIES FOR EXECUTIVE WOMEN: For the first time, Chico’s FAS Inc. made the top 10 list of best companies for executive women, according to the National Association for Female Executives. In addition to Chico’s, the NAFE Top 10 Companies for 2018 are L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, Accenture, Deloitte, Ernst & Young LLP, FleishmanHillard, IBM, JLL and Marriott International.

The NAFE Top 70 Companies are featured in the April-May issue of Working Mother and at The issue shows how female representation among chief executive officers is growing, while women are lagging among top earners.

This is the first time that Chico’s made the top 70 list. The article notes that Chico’s executive branches almost mirror the level of women in its workforce — some 96 percent of employees and 91 percent of corporate executives. Chico’s FAS, through its brands — Chico’s, White House Black Market and Soma — operates 1,460 stores in the U.S. and Canada, and is an omnichannel specialty retailer. IBM is the only company on the list for its entire 20-year history. The article notes that 47 percent of L’Oréal’s board is made up of women, and at Procter & Gamble, women held 28 percent of the president positions.

Other fashion and beauty companies that made the top 70 list are Colgate-Palmolive Co., Gap Inc., J.C. Penney Co. Inc., Johnson & Johnson and Target Corp. Viacom also made the top 70 list.

Some of the highlights of the 2018 NAFE Top 70 Companies are that female representation among ceo’s increased two percentage points to 14 percent this year, outpacing the S&P 500 at 5 percent. Female executives responsible for divisions worth more than $1 billion decreased to 21 percent versus 27 percent in the last year, most likely attributed to adding 10 more companies to the list this year. The percentage of women in the top 10 percent of earners dropped to 36 percent from 41 percent. Promotions for women increased in every category from corporate executive to manager. For all women, 46 percent received promotions versus 44 percent last year.

Betty Spence, president of NAFE, said, “NAFE’s annual scrutiny of women’s progress at American companies offers essential data about the movement of women into top leadership in the private sector. In this first year of having five NAFE Top Companies with boards of 50 percent or more women, we point to a synergy between the greater presence of women on the board and an increase in the number of winning companies with women ceo’s and with 50 percent-plus women in the c-suite (10 companies.)”

Subha V. Barry, senior vice president and managing director of Working Mother Media, added, “NAFE’s Top Companies shows us what progressive organizations are doing to ensure women’s advancement into executive positions. This year, noting increased enrollment and more companies with high scores, we decided to enlarge the list by 10. Areas such as the number of female CEOS and promotions at every level illustrate improvement. However, while there is increased CEO engagement in making sure women have the best chance to become leaders, we also note there has also been a dip in key indicators like top earners, which needs to be addressed.”

To be considered for the NAFE Top 70 Companies list, firms must have a minimum of two women on their board as well as at least 1,000 U.S. employees. The application tracks and examines how many employees have access to programs and policies that promote advancement of women and how many employees take advantage of them, in addition to how companies train managers to help women advance.

For the complete list:


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