Akron-based Women’s Network of Northeast Ohio has released the somewhat surprising results of research focused on gender equity and women’s leadership in Summit County.
Although many of Summit County’s leadership positions are held by women, such as County Executive Ilene Shapiro, and 70 percent of the judicial seats, representation and equity at leadership levels are lacking when compared with national numbers.
The study used information on about 5,000 private, nonprofit and public leaders and a survey of more than 400 Summit County professionals.
The results revealed that women hold less than 30 percent of leadership roles across every level and category studied.
Women’s Network Board President Dr. Jennifer Savitski said those findings were surprising.
“You see those women very prominently and I think people think oh yeah there are women who lead those organizations,” she said. “ But when you look at the raw data and you see that there are just as many men CEOs named David as there are women CEOS it really puts it into perspective. You can’t just say we got it covered.”
The research found top-earning women in the private sector make 25 cents per dollar less than their male counterparts, while nonprofit women CEOs make 82 percent of what males earn.
On nonprofit boards, representation of women has been stagnant at 41 percent since 2014. But shedding light on the disparities is not enough.
“Everybody thought well once we recognized that the board representation was what it was there would be a natural change that would occur,” Savitski said. “That statistic shows us that the knowledge itself is not enough, we have to be intentional.”
The Women’s Network is partnering with the Greater Akron Chamber to help local companies use the data to create plans for improvement.