Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Breaking the Glass Ceiling

Throughout the years, businesses have done a better job of fostering a supportive environment for women. So far this year, two organizations have released lists honoring the companies that are the best for working mothers and the top companies for executive women. Numerous food and beverage consumer packaged goods companies and retailers have landed on these prestigious lists.

Last month, Working Mother announced its 25th annual list of its 100 Best Companies. The companies on the list offered family-friendly benefits and programs that help keep the careers of working moms on track.

This year, Working Mother named General Mills among the top ten companies for working moms. At General Mills, 41 percent of managers, senior managers, and corporate executives are women, and women make up 36 percent of the company's board of directors. According to Working Mother, "Moms head five of the seven U.S. retail divisions of this food manufacturing company, with Yoplait president Becky O'Grady added in 2009."

Kellogg's also landed among manufacturers making this year's list. Working Mother reports that "parents who need to take their kids on a business trip for Kellogg's will have their child-care costs fully reimbursed by the company." What's more, 33 percent of women are among top earners at the cereal and snack giant.

As for consumer products, Diageo North America earned a spot on the list. At the spirits, wine, and beer company, parents can take advantage of an internal resource and referral service to locate childcare, and are able to use up to 15 days of subsidized backup childcare every year. More than 70 percent of the women promoted last year benefited from the company's established flexible work arrangement program.

Finally, Kraft Foods secured a place on the list. According to Working Mother, Kraft rewards high-potential leaders with an executive coach to help employees sharpen their skills and connect with company leaders.

Also last month, the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE) released its 2010 list of the Top 50 Companies for Women Executives. General Mills once again took top honors for its hiring, mentoring, developing, and training practices for female employees. In addition, the company offers flex schedules for work-life balance and stretch assignments to give women an opportunity to work in areas they otherwise would not be exposed to in their everyday responsibilities.

Food and beverage CPG companies Diageo North America, Kellogg's, Kraft, and PepsiCo, along with retailers Macy's and Walmart rounded out NAFE's current list.

As per NAFE, list honorees are compiled from a comprehensive application by companies with a minimum of two women on its board of directors. The questionnaire focused on the number of women in senior ranks, including questions about the programs and policies that support the advancement of women.

If you work for one of the companies on these lists, congratulations! Leave me a note to tell me more. If you feel that your company should be added to one (or both) of these lists, write a comment explaining why.

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