Studies Show Few MN Companies Are Led by Women

Two recently released reports indicate that there are few women in top leadership positions at Minnesota companies, and the state lags behind the majority of the country in women-owned businesses.

Women leaders are still greatly outnumbered by men in Minnesota, according to the 2010 Minnesota Census of Women in Corporate Leadership.

The third annual report, which was produced by St. Catherine University and the Minnesota Women's Economic Roundtable, revealed that women have made little progress in occupying top leadership roles in Minnesota's largest public companies.

According to the study, which looks at women employees at the state's 100 largest public companies, women hold 116 of the 814 available board seats-or 14.3 percent.

Twenty-eight of the public companies have no women board members at all, and 41 have only one woman serving on their board. Six of the companies had three or more women directors in 2010.

There wasn't a significant change in women leadership from the previous year. Compared to 2009, 8 companies added a woman to their board, while four companies saw a decrease in the number of females occupying board positions.

Minority women leaders are even more scarce: Only 12 of the state's 100 largest companies have women of color serving on their boards.

“To move our state forward, corporate leadership in Minnesota must draw upon the talents, skills, and creativity of a more balanced representation of our population,” according to the study.

Download the full report here.

A separate report based on 2010 U.S. Census data indicates that Minnesota's women-owned businesses have not grown at the same rate as those in much of the country.

According to the “American Express Open State of Women-Owned Business” report, Minnesota has an estimated 138,000 women-owned firms. Those companies employ roughly 143,600 people.

The report indicates that there are 27 percent more women-owned businesses in the state than there were in 1997. That's a much slower growth rate than the national pace: There are about 8.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States-up 50 percent from 1997.

Most other states have added women-owned businesses at a faster pace. In fact, Minnesota ranks 44th among states based on the percent growth in women-owned businesses from 1997 to 2010.

Georgia ranked first with a 97.5 percent growth in women-owned businesses during the period.

For an in-depth look at the country's women-owned firms, read the full report here.