Women in Los Angeles' Corporate Power Structure


Ellen Roggeman

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As corporations merge and extend their services nationally and globally, consumers? personal ?choice? (which deodorant to buy, restaurant to eat in, etc.) loses much of its power. So, who does hold power in these mega-corporations, how is that power exercised, and what can that power reveal about the reality of America?s egalitarian ideals? The board of directors, a company?s official governing board, usually consists of around ten individuals from various fields who perform key business procedures such as hiring or firing high-level executives and accepting or rejecting significant policy changes. Directors? decisions affect the economy and, therefore, the political realm. Whether the current level of corporate power is a good or a bad thing for American business and politics, the demographic make-up of this influential, elite group illustrates the progress women are making in the business sector. For this reason, I focused on the gender make-up of the board of directors for Los Angeles? twenty five largest public companies (ranked by total revenue) as a measure of women?s standing in Los Angeles? corporate power structure. In 2002, women occupy only 10% of the director positions (26 of the 260) available on these boards. In seventeen of these twenty-five companies, female directors account for 10% or less of the board membership. There does not seem to be industry patterns of either strong or weak female director representation.


P. Dreier




Ronald and Susan Hahn Summer Research Scholarship

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