As a region, the Southwestern United States – comprising Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona – ranks dead last in a new survey of executive positions held by women. On average, only 21.14% of executive positions in the Southwest are held by women, compared with New England’s top-regional percentage of 28.29% and a national average of 24.8%.
One bright note for the region is New Mexico, the highest-ranking Southwestern state and 18th nationally. Arizona, Texas and Oklahoma, meanwhile, dragged down the regional average with national rankings of 43rd, 47th and 48th, respectively.
State, regional ranking order
|National Ranking||Pct. Women in Exec Leadership|
“In Albuquerque, we are building infrastructure that promotes inclusivity, within a community that has historically been among the most innovative in the country,” said Gary Oppedahl, director of the City’s Economic Development Department. “We continue to rank very competitively nationwide for women in tech and women in startups, and the City has even passed pay equity ordinances to promote the equal treatment of women. While we can always improve, the city’s low barrier to entry and culture of acceptance makes Albuquerque an ideal location for women and under-represented individuals to achieve success.”
The research, conducted earlier this month by DiscoverOrg, surveyed more than 50,000 U.S. employees in the company’s data set, with 10,234 individuals responding.
A complete list of U.S. regions, by rank:
New England (ME, NH, VT, MA, RI, CT) – 28.3%
Rocky Mountains (MT, ID, WY, UT and CO) – 26.7%
Mid-Atlantic (NY, PA, MD, DE, NJ and DC) – 26.6%
Far West (WA, OR, CA, NV, HI, AK) – 25.5%
Southeast (AR, LA, MS, AL, GA, FL, NC, SC, TN, KY, WV, VA) – 23.6%
Great Lakes (WI, IL, MI, IN, OH) – 23.5%
Plains (ND, SD, NE, KS, MN, IA, MO) – 23.4%
Southwest (AZ, NM, OK, TX) – 21.1%
The results for the Southwest were atypical because New Mexico, the only blue state in the Southwest, scored higher than its red state neighbors. These results countered the nationwide findings that there is little correlation between a state’s political leanings and the percentage of women in executive positions.
The top five states for gender diversity in the executive suite are: Montana (40.9% female); District of Columbia (38.2%); Vermont (38.0%); Alaska (33.3%) and Delaware (33.3%). Conversely, the five states with the least gender parity are: Utah (17.0%); West Virginia (17.2%); Kentucky (18.0%); Oklahoma (19.0%); and Texas (19.7%).
“Research clearly shows that diversity isn’t just a social goal, but good business. Companies with more diversity have a much better chance of posting financial returns above national industry medians,” noted DiscoverOrg CMO Katie Bullard. “While some companies do a far better job than others at gender parity, the national mean of 24.8% is still well below where it should be if companies want to strengthen their bottom line.”