Eos, BBJ study shows lack of women CEOs, board members in advocacy groups

Boston Business Journal
By Catherine Carlock

Women and minorities make up a majority of the state population, but when it comes to the leadership of the state’s most influential business-advocacy organizations, it’s hard to find a women or non-whites in the corner office or on the board.

Some 72 percent of CEOs of prominent business-advocacy groups in Massachusetts are male, while 82 percent of board chairs are male — and 70 percent of board members are men, according to a first-of-its-kind study by Eos Foundation and the Business Journal. The report, to be released publicly at an event on Wednesday, examines the women’s power gap in business advocacy organizations in Massachusetts.

Of the 25 business advocacy groups surveyed, 60 percent have neither a female CEO nor a female board chair.

Andrea Silbert, president of the Eos Foundation, co-founded the nonprofit Center for Women and Enterprise in 1994 with Susan Hammond. It was then she saw how powerful business-advocacy groups can be when it comes to influencing policies on technology and the life sciences, business and economic development, and the like. But Silbert hasn’t seen much change in the leadership of those groups since the early 1990s — despite an increase in the pipeline of women and people of color doing business in Massachusetts.

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