Sponsors Critical for Women's Move into C-Suites

New research by Catalyst, a nonprofit working for advancement of women, reveals that the female progression in corporate boardrooms, executive office suites and the ranks of companies' top earners has stagnated. The 2011 findings represent the fifth report in which the annual change in female leadership remained flat. The reasons have nothing to do with work/life balance. Catalyst also looked at male and female MBAs with high potential right out of school and followed them for 10 years. From their first job, women are paid less and receive fewer promotions and raises. "They start behind and never catch up,'' says Michael J. Chamberlain, a senior director with Catalyst. Sponsors more so than mentors seem to be the required ingredient.

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