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Catalyst: 1 in 7 Corporate Officers are Women in Latest Count

Women hold 14 percent of corporate officer positions in Canada (752 out of 5,746 corporate officers), a two percent increase since 1999 according to the Catalyst Census of Women Corporate Officers and Top Earners of Canada, released today. This second-of-its-kind census provides an accurate measure of women’s advancement to leadership in Canada’s 500 largest companies.

The 2002 Catalyst Census key findings include:

  • Women hold 14.0 percent of corporate officers positions in the FP500, up from 12.0 percent in 1999.
  • 62.2 percent of FP500 companies have at least one woman corporate officer, up from 56.4 percent in 1999.
  • 87 FP500 companies have 25 percent or more women corporate officers, up from 67 companies in 1999.
  • Women hold 9.0 percent of line officer positions, up from 6.4 percent in 1999.
  • Women hold 6.7 percent of the highest corporate officer titles, up from 3.4 percent in 1999.

Certain industries continue to make strides in the representation of women in their corporate officer ranks. Banks lead the way with the highest proportion of women corporate officers among industries, including a comparatively higher percentage of “clout” titles (i.e., Chairmen, Vice Chairman, CEO, President, COO, CFO, Senior Executive Vice President and Executive Vice President) held by women. Thirty of the 88 women (34 percent) with clout titles in the FP500 are women corporate officers in banks. Other industries with high representation of women corporate officers include property and casualty insurance, credit unions and specialty retailers.

Sponsored by RBC Financial Group and Bell Canada, the 2002 Catalyst Census of Women Corporate Officers and Top Earners in Canada is the second census of women corporate officers in Canada. Catalyst has been tracking the progress of women in corporate leadership in Canada since 1999. Through the Census, Catalyst counts the number of women corporate officers in order to establish accurate statistics on women’s advancement in the corporate community. Each census serves as a marker of accomplishment for corporations and of work yet to be done.

“The story of women’s advancement in corporate leadership in Canada is one of slow and incremental growth,” said Dr. Susan Black, Vice President of Catalyst Canada, “we also know that clients and consumers want to do business with forward thinking organizations. Those companies who choose to create a business environment where women can bring critical skills and expertise to the leadership team are the smart and successful companies of the future.”

Canadian comparisons to the U.S.

Canadian companies boast more women in line positions and leading companies than their American counterparts. In Canada, more than one third (35.2 percent) of women corporate officers are in line positions compared to 29.6 percent in the United States. As of the June 1, 2002 census cut-off date, 13 women lead 14 Canadian corporations (up from 12 in 1999) versus six female Fortune 500 CEOs in the U.S.

However, Canadian business lags behind American business on some important indicators of women’s corporate advancement. For example, women hold 15.7 percent of corporate officer positions in the Fortune 500 versus 14.0 percent in the FP500. 85.8 percent of Fortune 500 companies have at least one-woman corporate officer compared to 62.5 percent of FP500 companies, and two thirds (66.6 percent) of Fortune 500 companies have multiple women corporate officers compared to one third (33.6 percent) of FP500 companies.

About the Census: As in the 1999 Catalyst Census of Women Corporate Officers of Canada, this year’s census reports findings based on companies ranked in the National Post’s Financial Post 500 list (the “FP500”). Catalyst uses this list because it is comprised of the largest Canadian companies and is widely recognized in Canada as the standard measure of corporate performance and market clout.

About Catalyst: Catalyst is the premier nonprofit research and advisory organization working to advance women in business, with offices in New York, San Jose, and Toronto. The leading source of information on women in business for the past four decades, Catalyst has the knowledge and tools that help companies recruit, retain, and advance top talent and enable women to reach their potential. Our solutions oriented approach—through Research, Advisory Services, Corporate Board Service, and the Catalyst Award—has earned the confidence of global business leaders.