New Non-Profit Empowers Employees to Confront their Companies about Gender Inequality

by Lynnette Mcintire
May 12, 2015 12:30 PM ET

In March, The New York Times ran a column declaring that "Fewer Women Run Big Companies Than Men named John." The article cited a Glass Ceiling Index that showed that Jims, Bobs, Jacks and Bills combined outnumber the total number of women among chief executives of S&P 1500 firms. A woeful sign that women still lag in leadership roles in corporate America. But go deeper down the corporate ladder and the story is even worse. In the U.S. women hold more than 50% of management, professional and related positions, yet women hold only 22% of senior leadership positions in U.S. businesses.. They hold 19% of board seats and less than 5% of CEO positions in S&P 500 companies.

Those less-than-inspiring statistics frustrated one young woman, Elba Pareja-Gallagher, so much that she decided to create a non-profit to attack the problem at the grassroots - ShowMe50TM. The name is tied to her goal to get employees within companies to challenge their employers to "show me 50% in senior leadership positions."  The organization's website, which features tools and an online community, launches March 31.  The organization shows employees how to benchmark the current equality ratio of their companies against the ShowMe50 goal of 50%, paving a  way to shake companies out of complacency. The site also has recommendations about how to drive change all the way up to the board of directors level.

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