More (And Better) Female Bosses

Tobey Maguire gives autographs prior to the screening of his film "Spider-Man 3" in Berlin, Thursday, April 25, 2007. The movie will open in German theaters on May 1. AP

Hershey's Foods' newest factory is a state-of-the-art facility that can crank out 30 million Hershey's Kisses a day.

"We make almost a million pounds of chocolate every day at this plant," Carole Rich said proudly.

About 40 percent of the factory's workforce is female, and so is the boss: Carole Rich was an urban studies major in college, "so obviously I wasn't planning on making chocolate for a living," she said Wednesday.

In 18 years with Hershey's she has worked her way up to plant manager, a record of sustained success that feels "pretty darn good," she said.

Hershey's has 17 plants. Rich said she is the only female plant manager the company employs, but her success is evidence that women are breaking through the barriers that have kept them from advancing into the upper brackets of management, CBS News Correspondent Anthony Mason reports.

"My experience has been if you can do the job and deliver the results, then the opportunities come," Rich said.

Manufacturing is hardly a man's world anymore. Just a decade ago, women held only a quarter of the administrative and executive jobs in the manufacturing sector. Today they hold more than a third, but in the corporate world, it's different. Few women make it all the way to the top.

Shelley Lazarus is an exception. She never thought she'd make it to be chief executive officer of advertising powerhouse Ogilvy and Mather, "but it (female advancement) still is an issue at the very highest level."

Among Fortune Magazine's top 500 companies, there are still only two female CEOs. The good news: the number of female corporate officers has jumped 50 percent in the past five years, from 6.7 percent to 12.5 percent.

"I see a big jump. I feel a big jump. I feel the influence of women with the companies I deal with much more. They're at the tables now for the big decisions, and they occupy jobs now of enormous influence," Lazarus said.

One reason for the increase: Studies show that in many ways women are actually better managers than men — better at teamwork, at multi-tasking, better at building consensus.

"Sometimes we can make decisions without getting our egos so involved in it," Rich said.

"I don't think women have a need to always be the person who's right," Lazarus said.

Experience continues to be women's obstacle to advancement, but Lazarus believes even that's changing.

"When people think about who might be the CEO of a certain company, we see women's names now," Lazarus said.

Hershey's only female plant manager agrees that for women things are looking up.

"There aren't many of us, but I think there are going to be more of us," Rich said.


  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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