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General Motors Achieves Gender Milestone

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Mary Barra at the GM 24th Annual Supplier of the Year Awards

Mary Barra at the GM 24th Annual Supplier of the Year Awards

Anyone who works with cars can tell you that it’s mostly a boys’ club. While companies seem to be trying to fix that for both employees and customers, in early 2016 the Government Accountability Office placed the auto industry in the bottom five when it comes to representation of women on boards of directors. The average female representation in this top tier of company management is only around 11% (to be fair, the same report said the average in the S&P 500 was only 16%).

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This summer, General Motors reached a milestone in its efforts to address the issue in its own company leadership: it became the first major industrial company to have an equal amount of men and women on its board of directors. Called gender parity, it was achieved when shareholders elected Jane Mendillo in June to its board, making it six women and six men steering the global automotive giant.

We shouldn’t be completely surprised that the milestone was reached by General Motors, since in 2014 Mary Barra was named its CEO, becoming the first female CEO of a major American automaker. She was also named Chairman of the Board early this year. A GM spokesman told Motto that it didn’t select its members of the board because of their genders, but because they were the best people to do the job. Ms. Mendillo previously headed the company that manages the endowment of Harvard, so she has experience with prestigious brands.

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Well, other car brands of the world, GM broke this particular glass ceiling first. What will you do next to make sure women are welcome at the table when it comes to the direction of your company?

News Source: Motto