Women have made few inroads into the executive offices and boardrooms of California companies, according to a new UC Davis study.
The eighth annual "Study of California Women Business Leaders," released Wednesday by the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, found that women still occupy less than one in 10 of the top posts at the 400 largest public firms headquartered in the state. The findings dovetail with past reports.
UC Davis partnered with Watermark, a Bay Area-based nonprofit organization that offers programs for executive women, to compile the data. This year, for the first time, the survey also looked at ethnicity among the 85 Fortune 1,000 companies in California. Only one company in that subset had an ethnic minority woman as CEO Linda Lang of San Diego-based Jack in the Box.
Other key findings:
Almost half (44.8 percent) of California's companies have no women directors; 34 percent have only one.
No company has an all-female board and management team.
Among some of the most widely known companies in California including Apple, Google, Intel, Cisco, Visa, eBay, DirecTV, Yahoo and PG&E none of their highest-paid executives at fiscal year-end were women.
"To compete in today's global marketplace, successful companies need leaders from a variety of backgrounds, skills and experience to make critical strategic and operations decisions, but the lack of women in these California public companies is anything but forward-thinking," said Steven Currall, dean of the UCD management school.
Currall noted that the study did not find an "overt intention to exclude women from these roles," and he noted that other factors such as comparatively large numbers of males seeking information technology careers do affect the numbers.
He said the companies with more gender-balanced leadership tend to "embody a commitment to proactively recruit and retain women." The IT sector, he said, is "notoriously weak" in this area.
Amanda Kimball, UC Davis research specialist and author of the study, said "Silicon Valley and the high-tech sector are sort of pulling the average down but overall, California is very much in line with other states."
San Francisco-based Williams-Sonoma, Inc. had the best gender balance in the survey, with women holding nearly 47 percent of the company's highest-paid executive and board director seats.
Two of the 400 California companies surveyed are in Sacramento County.
The McClatchy Co., publisher of The Bee, was ranked 29th, with women making up 23.5 percent of the directors and highest-paid executives.
GenCorp Inc., parent of Rancho Cordova rocket maker Aerojet, was ranked No. 204, with women making up 7.7 percent of the directors and highest-paid executives.
Full study results can be seen at www.gsm.ucdavis.edu/census.