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Women a century away from breaking California glass ceiling, study says

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Women business executives in California hoping to reach parity with their male counterparts may have to wait awhile -– say, a century, according to UC Davis.

Women are a long way from cracking the state’s glass ceiling, since the percentage of female leaders at the 400 largest public companies headquartered in California –- which together represent nearly $3 trillion in shareholder value -- is growing just 0.2% a year, according to a new report.

Less than 10% of executives -– defined as the five highest-paid jobs at a company along with board members -– are women. As of June, there were no women in power at more than a third of California corporate behemoths, including companies such as Adobe Systems Inc. and Skechers USA Inc.

No company had only women on its board or management team. Only 13 had a woman chief executive, down from 16 last year, though the number of women chief financial officers jumped 28.6% to 45.

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Orange County had the lowest percentage of women top honchos of any county in California, followed by Santa Clara County. Promotion of women didn’t seem to be a priority for semiconductor and software companies

San Francisco and San Mateo counties -– as well as the retail and wholesale industries -- ranked highest.

Bebe Stores Inc. had the best gender balance, with women claiming 40% of high-ranking spots in the company. Wet Seal Inc. improved dramatically, with a woman chief executive and women holding 36.4% of major roles, compared with last year, when just one executive post was occupied by a woman.

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-- Tiffany Hsu


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