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The Rise of Women MBAs

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Gender parity has been a long-sought-after goal in the workplace. It’s one that Wall Street would’ve laughed about fifty years ago, and it’s a goal our society is still progressing towards today amid the pandemic.

However, it’s also important to recognize milestones along the way, and the recent Forté Foundation report is one of those milestones. It shows the closing gender gap at business schools as a record number of women MBAs.

The MBA has a history of being male-dominated. While law schools and medical schools alike have 50% female representation in their enrollment, business schools only have on average 38% female enrollment, according to Forté. This is despite MBAs being the most popular graduate degree.

While the number isn’t quite 50% yet, trends say that parity will come soon. Over the past five years, the percentage of female enrollment in MBA programs has risen by nearly 10%. This increase is thanks to many efforts notably improved recruiting efforts, the change from GMAT to GRE, and the formation of women-centric student organizations on business school campuses.

Despite these strides, women continue to face challenges in the workplace. The most discrepant one being the “broken rung”. This refers to the first peg of the corporate ladder that is the hardest to overcome for women because of gender bias.

Men end up holding 62% of manager-level positions, while women hold just 38% according to McKinsey. This means that for every 100 men promoted, only 72 women are. This disparity is a cascading domino effect that leads to fewer women in senior leadership and the C-Suite.

Bearing in mind there is still work to be done, it’s necessary to take a moment to reflect on the advancements made by women in business over the past few decades. The rise of women enrollment in business school programs is one of those advancements and it’s an exciting one. It’s an indicator of what future boardrooms could look like. Attending business school is no small feat, but it’s inspiring to see women empower themselves to continuously learn and grow towards this goal of gender parity in business.

Read through the infographic below to see the numbers!


Courtesy of GreatBusinessSchools

Sources: McKinsey | The Forte Foundation Report | The Forte Foundation

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