Is Tech a Good Old Boy's Club for Executives?

Last Updated Apr 3, 2009 5:06 PM EDT

Is the technology industry lagging the nation and the world in terms of women in senior management positions? The data says yes, but it's improving.

Only seven technology companies made the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE) list of top 50 companies for executive women. The seven were Cisco, HP, IBM, Intel, Texas Instruments, Verizon, and Xerox. Only three technology companies (AT&T, IBM and Xerox) made DiversityInc's Top 50 Companies for Diversity list.

However, NAFE's answer to: "Is life tougher for women in technology, IT, and manufacturing companies?" is this:

Counterintuitive though it might seem, in these industries - still very much male bastions - women are finding impressive opportunities and achieving measurable successes.
I did my own informal investigation of five big technology firms (Cisco, Google, IBM, Intel and Microsoft) and found 22 of their top 147 executives, or 15 percent, were women.

How does that compare to the overall marketplace? Research from Grant Thornton International shows that women hold 24 percent of senior management positions globally and 20 percent in the U.S.

Personally, I always viewed the executive ranks of the tech industry - where I spent my career - as primarily a good old boy's club. Anecdotally, I think you'd find an even lower percentage of women executives at smaller firms where diversity may not be as "institutionalized," but I could be wrong.

So, in terms of women penetrating the executive ranks, while the technology industry appears to be improving, it's still got a long way to go.