Fewer women in top corner offices in Canada: report

The top corporate offices at Canada's largest companies held even fewer women in 2007, according to a report released on Tuesday, but a leading women's executive network says the decline is no big deal.

The third annual Rosenzweig Report on women in senior management in Canada found that out of 535 top corporate jobs, only 31, or 5.8 percent, were held by women, down from 37, or 6.9 percent, the year before.

"This drop is disheartening and makes you wonder if anything is really going to change over the next 10 years, or even longer," Jay Rosenzweig, managing partner of Rosenzweig and Co., said in a release.

"Is the glass ceiling impenetrable in Canada?"

But Pamela Jeffery, founder of the Women's Executive Network, a leading organization dedicated to the advancement of executive-minded women, says that the smaller number of female officers is "not a statistically significant group."

"I think that the fact is we are staying around 6 percent and that's consistent with the U.S.," she told Reuters.

"In the U.S., 6 percent of the Fortune 500 top executives are female, so we're in the same league."

The Rosenzweig report shows that Canadian banks seem to be doing well in promoting women to top positions.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Bank of Montreal and Toronto-Dominion Bank all have at least one woman in a senior position, while Royal Bank of Canada has two.

But only four out of the 100 companies analyzed had more than one woman in a senior position, and 74 firms were exclusively male when it comes to their top jobs, the report shows.

"Unfortunately, there are still a lot of barriers in the workplace that are preventing women from getting into those officer positions and I think that's what we need to see employers focus on," Jeffery said.

The report analyzed the 100 largest publicly traded companies in Canada, with annual revenues of C$1.7 billion ($1.67 billion) to C$36 billion.