The following letter from Dean Margaret L. Williams was included in the 2013 Michigan Women's Leadership Index.
The Wayne State University School of Business Administration was delighted to undertake the research and reporting of the 2013 Inforum report on corporate diversity. This work, conducted by Sheri Perelli and Toni Somers, both faculty members in our Department of Management and Information Systems, reflects the university's commitment to community engagement, service and diversity.
Today, nearly 29,000 students from every U.S. state and 70 countries are pursuing degrees on WSU's Detroit campus, at one of our five extension centers, or online. These students have access to an excellent education at a nationally ranked research university strengthened by the culture, industry and diversity of its urban environment, not to mention the diversity of its own student body. At the School of Business Administration, specifically, 52 percent of our students are African American, Hispanic, Asian or otherwise non-Caucasian, and 45 percent are women.
While gains are being made in the classroom, the boardroom lags far behind. A less than 3 percent increase in women’s representation in the boardrooms and executive suites of Michigan companies over the course of a decade is a disappointing statistic. The data demonstrate what might be described as glacial gains for women at the most senior levels of our state’s largest public companies - many of them global leaders in their sectors. These results underscore the importance of better preparing and mentoring women to compete for senior corporate roles and of broadening appreciation of the unique perspectives and experiences they can bring to all of corporate America - including boards and executive teams.
The results of the Inforum study beg further inquiry. Many questions, including those related to understanding the underlying causes of these results remain unanswered. We advocate for and plan to undertake this research. We hope others will join us.
Click here to read the full report.