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A recent trend is an encouraging indicator that tides may be shifting to favor women representation in business schools. According to the Forte Foundation, women enrollment in MBA programs is up to an average of 39% at business schools across the globe. This is almost a 10% jump from 2003 and a 5% jump over the past ten years. If this pace keeps up, gender parity— a 50/50 split— could be attained in business schools by 2030, if not sooner.
Back in 1950, the thought of women making up half a business school class would’ve been laughable. Business schools students had shark reputations, Wall Street was seen as a place only for men and not just any man, but the toughest of the crop.
However, as women continue to excel in business and attain MBAs, business schools have unmasked this hard facade and created more diverse environments. Largely this is thanks to the growing versatility of an MBA. Before, an MBA was a one-way ticket to Wall Street. Now, it’s a ticket to almost any business-related opportunity. If you want to start your own nonprofit, become a professional marketer, or build your own podcast, your business school education will allow for that.
Despite this progress, some systematic corporate bias still maintains in the workplace. Namely, a challenge is known as the “broken rung”. The first step in the corporate ladder is the most discrepant between genders. Men hold up to 62% of managerial-level positions while their own hold just 38%, a gap that has been consecutive for the past six years. This cascades into fewer women being promoted to senior-levels.
So, while it’s encouraging to see the rise of women enrollment, it’s also important to recognize that the gap still remains and we have not yet championed complete gender parity in business. We need to continue to empower female peers to take lead in the workplace!