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Women have been flooding into the job market for three decades. They now account for 47 per cent of all Canadian workers and 37 per cent of management in the country's top 500 companies. For all this progress, women remain a stubborn minority in corporate and political leadership. The clogged pipeline is driving some women off the corporate and political career path. Others are finding enormous success with foreign employers and Canadian crown organizations. What do their breakthroughs tell us about how businesses can improve executive diversity?

During a week long series, The Globe and Mail explored the statistics and the personal stories of several women in power today. They are portraits of courage and triumph. We looked at several questions:

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  • Are Canada's corporate and political elite biased against women?

  • Do women have to try harder?

  • Is the lack of diversity in corporate leadership a competitive disadvantage for Canadian companies on a global stage?

  • Should businesses set targets to promote women?

Most-viewed, most-discussed stories

  1. How a stellar career was almost cut short by a baby Pat Jacobsen, former CEO of Vancouver's TransLink, was the first female deputy minister in Ontario to have a child -- at a time when there was little support for women balancing work and family. More...

  2. Why the executive suite is the final frontier for women For all the progress over the past few decades, Canada remains a backwater for women at the top. The Globe and Mail investigates what's keeping female executives in the middle rungs of political and corporate power. More...

  3. Female CEO aspirants making big gains in government The public sector may lack the glamour and pay levels of the private sector, but the success rate for women in leadership in government is now far outstripping that of publicly traded corporations. Assisted by rigorous hiring processes and executive training programs, growing numbers of women are now moving into CEO jobs at Crown corporations and government agencies, or leading government departments as deputy ministers. More...

  4. Canadian corporate female stars strike gold with foreign employers A number of admired Canadian female executives are finding more lucrative and challenging career choices with foreign head offices or branch plants. Their success outside the Canadian business mainstream casts an unflattering light on the dearth of opportunities for female leaders on their home turf. More...

Top scored Catalyst comment

When I graduated from university in 1944 I applied to The Globe for a job to start my career in journalism; I was turned down. Girls were confined to the cooking, weddings and fashion pages. Having said that, I think too much is being made of "top jobs". . . Fran Dennis

Top scored Reader comment

Fifty-one per cent of the voters are women. If they don't choose to elect their sisters, what can we do? This is democracy! Bromelia

Expert panel debate: Most viewed video

Do we need women CEOs? Featuring Toronto-Dominion Bank CEO Ed Clark, Hydro One CEO Laura Formusa and Globe and Mail reporters Janet McFarland and Jacquie McNish . More...

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Profiles of female leaders: Most viewed video

How a young CEO balances baby and brewery 'It's a matter of working hard and sticking with it,' says Manjit Minhas, co-founder and CEO of Minhas Creek Craft Brewing Co. More...

Most viewed interactive

Portraits of power: How nine women rose to the top: View audio slideshows to read about the careers and listen to advice from Sheelagh Whittaker, Kim Campbell, Elyse Allan, Annette Verschuren, Laura Formusa, Pat Jacobsen, Anne Mulcahy, Carole James and Moya Greene. View...

Most active live chat

Your questions on women and politics in Canada , featuring Labour Minister Lisa Raitt and Nancy Peckford, executive director at Equal Voice, a multi-partisan organization dedicated to electing more women in Canada. More...

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Most active poll and results

Have you experienced gender discrimination in your career?

Of 7,849 votes cast:

  • 42% Yes (I'm a man)

  • 25% No (I'm a man)

  • 24% Yes (I’m a woman)

  • 9% No (I’m a woman)


Without a clear strategy to help women advance, and a commitment to tracking progress in this area, change will not happen. The world of power and authority will remain male. And Canada will lose out. The Globe and Mail

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