Submission Date


Document Type



Business & Economics

Faculty Mentor

Eric Gaus


Presented during the 18th Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 22, 2016 at Ursinus College.

Project Description

More men named John run S&P 1500 companies than all women combined, causing many to wonder what factors are limiting women’s career advancement. While many studies have been written about the topic of women’s success in the business world, most focus on individual firms or positions and therefore miss macroeconomic factors such as women’s completion of master’s degree programs and labor force participation rates. This research examines the disparity of gender in CEO positions through the examination of macroeconomic data which captures women’s career trajectory and qualifications. This research specifically examines trends in women’s obtainment of master’s degrees in business administration to see how their completion relates to the number of female CEOs of S&P 500 companies. Obtainment of master’s degrees by women helps to examine how qualified women are to become CEOs. To assess career trajectory I examine labor force participation over time to see how women’s participation may affect their ability to become CEOs. The use of the master’s degree data as well as the labor force participation data allows for a more thorough examination of the disparity and its causes.

Open Access

Available to all.