Last year, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania made history by enrolling more women than men in its 2023 MBA program. It is the first of seven elite business schools to have a female-dominated class. This year, Wharton repeated the feat.
Bloomberg A recent study of gender parity among top business schools and a look at what Wharton’s female-focused MBA program means for other schools.
Representation is improving
While business schools are still a long way from achieving true gender parity, many have worked hard to improve over the years.
The Forte Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy and advancement organization, has been tracking gender equality among business schools for years. When Forte started, 28 percent of MBA programs in the U.S. were made up of women. Just last year, however, that percentage grew to around 40 percent of the 56 schools tracked by Forte. Elissa Sangster, chief executive of the Forte Foundation, said the chances of being the only woman on the MBA program team today were “very low”.
Alliances and Support
One of the ways business schools are actively trying to improve the campus community is through alliances and support groups. Wharton was one of the first top business schools to add a male ally club. It also helped that Wharton named Erika James, the school’s first woman and first person of color, to run the MBA program in 2020.
James said in 2020: “I’m excited, I do recognize how historic it is and I’m humbled by the opportunity. Frankly, I believe my gender is the least I have to offer. Because I’m a woman, So I have a perspective on decision making and how I can get involved in the community.”
gender pay gap
Although more women are pursuing MBAs today than they were a few years ago, men with business degrees still earn more than women with the same credentials. According to a report from the Center for Education and the Workforce, while women had 43 percent of the study participants with a master’s degree, they earned a median annual income of $75,600, lower than men’s $90,000. This is a study that matches 83 percent of the gender pay gap in the United States.
Martin Van Der Werf, editor and director of education policy at Georgetown University’s Center for Education, said: “Getting an MBA is daunting if you’re a woman, and when you get an MBA you’re earning less than a similarly qualified man. It’s frustrating,” Labour, said. “It can deter people from pursuing these degrees.”
Source: Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal
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