The business landscape for women is one of underrepresentation. When it comes to S&P 500 companies, less than six percent of CEOs and only 21.2 percent of board members are women. Forté also reports that women face a pay gap of at least 20 percent compared to their male counterparts, and only around 2 percent of all venture capital funding goes to women. In response to such conditions, Forté accounted for three avenues of impact in their report: (1) increased outreach to women of color, (2) augmenting the MBA talent pipeline, and (3) empowering women to advance in their careers.
Expanded Outreach to Women of Color
In 2019, Forté hosted its second Women of Color College Leadership Conference, a daylong event bringing together African American and Latina women to celebrate diversity and explore career options. The foundation plans to hold this conference twice a year now, due to the increase in attendance by 21 percent. They were also able to award over $23k in travel stipends, to help participants attend the conference in California.
Forté also added two with historically black colleges and universities as Rising Stars partner schools in 2019: Spelman College and Alabama State University.
Support of MBA Talent
Attending business school is often the first step to greater leadership in business, and Forté has supported women’s enrollment. Since 2001, Forte partner MBA schools have seen an increase in female enrollment from 28 percent to 39 percent. One in three of their partner b-schools achieved 40 percent or more women enrollments, which is up from one in four from the previous year. Nearly 10,000 women to-date have also benefited from Forté Fellowships in support of their MBA studies.
Career Growth is Continuous
From webinars to career fairs, Forté Foundation provided ongoing services to help women in business excel. They offer executive education, skill-building workshops, leadership conferences, and networking opportunities. In 2019, their new Virtual Career Fair connected nine companies with Forté members. The organization also became partners with 18 executive educations and executive MBA programs. Moreover, over 3,000 women have attended their Women Lead webinars, to explore career options, leadership, networking and more.
In their annual report, Forte laid out two more objective: championing their Men as Allies program and introducing undergrads and women early in their career to the value of an MBA. The goal of Men as Allies is to build more inclusive cultures in the workplace, while working towards gender parity.
See more from Forté here.