About this time last year, an EY (formerly Ernst & Young) report revealed that there are more men with the names John, Robert, James, or William on S&P 1500 company boards than there are women in total - a novel, but rather depressing statistic.
The most recent publication of the Fortune 500 list shows that only 21 companies (or 4.2%) are directed by women, down from 24 the year previous, a backslide that suggests that the journey to closing the gender gap could be a long one. In fact, the World Economic Forum puts a number on how long, stipulating that 2186 may be the year when gender equality finally triumphs.
Of course, there are ways and means to battle forward, and it holds us all in good stead to be optimistic. A more likable statistic is the revelation that 50% of female Fortune 500 CEOs have an MBA qualification. This demonstrates that there are arrows that can be added to the proverbial quiver,helping some of us shatter the glass ceiling.
Today is International Women's Day, a global event that celebrates women's achievements and which calls for gender equality. In support of the cause, here is a selection of MBA scholarships and initiatives that are dedicated to women - funding is most definitely needed to get more women moving forwards and upwards.
The Forté Fellows Program
The Forté Foundation was set up because its main goal was to support women on their pathway into business. Schools partnered with the organization have given almost US$110 million to participants of the Forté Fellows Program. All participating business schools (listed here) grant awards to full-time MBA students, with selected schools offering MBA scholarships for part-time and executive MBA courses.
Initiatives and scholarships in the US
The C200 Foundation
To date, the C200 Foundation has awarded over US$1.5 million to young women through their C200 Scholar Awards. An MBA scholarship of up to US$10,000 is given to students based both on financial need and merit. For full details, see here.
American Association of University Women (AAUW)
The AAUW offers Career Development Grants of between US$2,000 and US$12,000 to support women who are pursuing a degree to advance or change their careers. It also provides grants of US$5,000 to US$18,000 through their Selected Professions Fellowship in underrepresented fields, one of which is business.
Yale School of Management
As well as participating in the Forté Fellows Program, the Yale School of Management also encourages women to apply for their Demko-Baer Scholarship designed to promote greater diversity within business management.
Scholarships in Europe
London Business School
London Business School offers up a veritable bouquet of female-focussed scholarships, with eight MBA scholarships in total listed, and in which awards range from payment of a full year of fees to single payments of around US$42,700.
INSEAD, like London Business School seeks to show a real commitment to promoting diversity within its programs. The school lists a myriad of MBA scholarships on its website with seven scholarships exclusively dedicated to women.
HHL - Leipzig Graduate School of Management
HHL provides a merit-based scholarship to women applying for full-time, part-time and executive MBA programs at its school of management. Full details on the criteria are listed here.
ESMT offers scholarships for the advancement of women in business designed to support women in their quest to reach executive-level leadership positions. Full details here.
QS also offers scholarships, both independently and through partnered business schools. A scholarship exclusively dedicated to female MBA applicants is the University of Iowa's Kathleen Dore Women's MBA Scholarship. The scholarship winner this year will receive full payment of tuition costs, and the deadline for applications is April 1 2017