Credit union coreCredit unions have a much higher percentage of women in executive leadership than most other industries in the United States.  With March being Women's History Month, below is an article that was published last week on the Credit Union IT Compliance blog by enCompass Group, that sheds some light on how, at many credit unions, women are truly the credit union core:

Taking a break from our regularly scheduled Credit Union IT Compliance discussions this week in honor of March being Women's History Month. I read some interesting articles with statistics specific to credit unions that prompted me to write this blog. What got me started was this one: Women account for more than half of entry-level jobs in America, but they make up only 37% of mid-management positions and 28% of VP/senior management jobs.

So I did some research and, as I had suspected, the credit union industry has a very different story. According to CUNA, 57% of credit union CEOs overall are women. In fact, credit unions in the United States have a much higher percentage of female CEOs than other institutions and industries.

These numbers didn't surprise me since A) I have a large number of credit union clients I work with where women lead the charge, and B) I work in IT, where the statistics for women in the work force could not be more opposite than in CU's, so it is nice that the disparity does not extend to my client base. Consider these statistics of women in my industry - IT:
  • 57% of professional occupations in the U.S. workforce are held by women
  • Only 26% of professional IT jobs are held by women 
  • The numbers on women in executive level positions in IT are even more skewed in favor of males.
And the numbers are not getting better for IT. In fact, in the mid-1980s, 37% of computer science majors were women; in 2012 the number dropped to an alarming 18%! As an owner of an IT company, I can confirm it is not easy to even get women to apply for IT related jobs.

So hats off to the credit union industry! You are leading a great example for other industries to follow and for members to appreciate. However, you still have some work to do. Women comprised only 41% of credit union senior staff in 2012 despite making up 70% of the credit union workforce in the United States. And even with the high percentage of female CEOs, most women leaders serve at credit unions smaller than $50 million (M), and the larger the credit union, the more likely the leader is a man. In the $100M-$500M tier, only about one out of five CEO's is a woman.

You can read all these stats and more in a 2014 Filene report, "Women in Leadership: Obstacles and Opportunities."

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