Business Schools Continue to Close MBA Gender Gap

Forté Foundation reports this week that women’s enrollment in full-time MBA programs at its member schools – which represent the top business schools in the US and abroad – continued to climb in 2017 to 37.4% on average, up 4% from 33.4% five years ago in the fall of 2013.

In the last five years, women’s enrollment at Forté Foundation member schools has steadily gained each year. This fall, 17 schools had 40% or more women enrolled, up from only two schools that reached this milestone in the fall of 2013.

Also, 26 schools had 35% or more women enrolled, more than double from 12 schools in 2013. The fall of 2017 is the first year that two schools reached 45% or more women enrolled. (The Wharton School and George Washington University School of Business.) And three other schools, two in the US and one in the UK, are close behind at 44%.

“This progress demonstrates that gender parity is not a pipe dream. Although women’s enrollment in business school is a slow and steady growth story, at this rate we could reach an average of 40% women’s enrollment in top business schools in less than five years and 50% by 2030,” says Elissa Sangster, Executive Director of Forté Foundation.

“Why is this significant? There is evidence that an MBA can provide both career advancement and significant pay gains for women, giving them greater economic mobility. And efforts to support women to pursue an MBA can contribute to a more diverse leadership pipeline at companies.”

The following 17 Forté member business schools have 40% or higher women’s enrollment:

  • Alliance Manchester Business School – UK
  • Columbia Business School – US
  • Dartmouth College (Tuck School of Business) – US
  • George Washington University School of Business – US
  • Harvard Business School – US
  • Imperial College Business School – UK
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan School of Management) – US
  • Northwestern University (Kellogg School of Management) – US
  • University of California Berkeley (Haas School of Business) – US
  • The University of Chicago (Booth School of Business) – US
  • University of Michigan (Ross School of Business) – US
  • University of Oxford (Saïd Business School) – UK
  • University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)– US
  • The University of Texas at Austin (McCombs School of Business) – US
  • University of Toronto (Rotman School of Management) – Canada
  • Yale School of Management – US
  • York University (Schulich School of Business) – Canada

These nine schools have 35% or greater women’s enrollment:

  • Arizona State University (W. P. Carey School of Business) – US
  • HEC-Paris – France
  • London Business School – UK
  • New York University (Stern School of Business) – US
  • University of California – Los Angeles (Anderson School of Management) – US
  • University of Cambridge (Judge Business School) – UK
  • University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign (Gies College of Business) – US
  • University of Virginia (Darden School of Business) – US
  • Washington University in St. Louis (Olin Business School) – US

Forté Foundation is a non-profit consortium of leading multinational corporations, top business schools in the US and abroad, and the Graduate Management Admission Council. It was called to action by a landmark research study, Women and the MBA: Gateway to Opportunity, that looked at why women are underrepresented in top business schools compared with medical or law schools.

Forté Foundation was launched in 2001 to address this inequity and its impact on the business landscape, and grew to 25 member schools in 2005 in the US. Today, Forté Foundation includes 51 member schools: 39 in the US, four in Canada and eight in Europe.

Image credit: Flickr user IamNotUnique (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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