2013 has meant a year of great strides for women in Denver history. For the first time, women simultaneously held the two top positions at each of two of the city's most influential business organizations: the Downtown Denver Partnership and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.
This leadership confluence signals another crack in the glass ceiling in Colorado. But women aren't close to breaking through to the highest levels of power locally or nationally. According to "Benchmarking Women's Leadership," a 2009 report by The White House Project, women on average hold only 18 percent of the leadership positions in 14 employment sectors that range from politics and religion to law and academia.
In 2013, Colorado ranked first in the nation for women's representation in state legislatures, with women holding 41 percent of the legislative seats in the Colorado General Assembly: 27 of 65 seats in the House and 14 of 35 seats in the Senate. Nationally, women held 1,781 seats, or about 24 percent, of the 7,383 in state legislatures.
Promoting women into the executive suite may also be good for the corporate bottom line, according to a 19-year study of 215 Fortune 500 firms by Pepperdine University professor Roy Adler.
Adler's study concluded that companies with the best records for promoting women also had the strongest record of profitability — between 18 percent and 69 percent more profitable. He cautioned, however, that the correlation may have do with profitability freeing corporations to "experiment with the promotion of women to high levels."