Full time female MBA candidates have ascended to an average of 41 percent of the men. Although the numbers are rising, we can truly rejoice that women have achieved parity at three elite business schools. The total at Wharton, for the first time in its history, is 52 percent of its enrollees. Also among the 56 schools followed by the Forté Foundation, the GW School of Business and Johns Hopkins’ Carey School crossed the halfway gender parity line. One reason could be female faculty and targeted scholarships.
In addition, I suspect that toys matter.
Several of California’s lawmakers were concerned that that their daughters had to visit the boys’ aisle for science and technology toys. By contrast, the girls’ section emphasized baby dolls, fashion, and domestic life. The result is California’s new parity mandate that will begin in 2024. According to Assembly Bill 1084, large retailers will have to create a gender neutral toy aisle. The goal is to encourage comparison and discourage gender stereotyping.
Perhaps this image says it all. The boys’ aisle has Superman while the girls have Barbie:
Our Bottom Line: Human Capital
Thinking of human capital, we can take the leap from gender parity in the toy aisle to gender parity among MBA enrollees. It all relates to how we build everyone’s human capital. Defined as the knowledge that we accumulate, human capital fuels our aspirations and our economy’s growth. You see where I would like to take this. If we empower little girls, then they will ascend in the corporate world.
It has taken a decade for women to move up from 31.8 percent to 41.2 percent of the people in leading MBA programs. Correspondingly, a paltry six percent of the S&P 500’s CEOs are women. Starting with toys and continuing with MBAs, we can only hope that the breakthroughs in human capital percolate to the top.
My sources and more: Having heard the MBA statistics about gender on Bloomberg, I awaited complementary facts. They surfaced at CNBC, WSJ, Fortune, Yahoo, and then the BBC and Axios. Finally, we can look at Catalyst for current data on female executives.