An economist at the New York Times has created what he calls The Glass Ceiling Index, inspired by a recent report showing only 16% of board directors of S&P 1500 companies (which makes up 90% of all U.S. stock value) are women.
“[This] means that Jims, Bobs, Jacks and Bills — combined — outnumber the total number of women, including every women’s name, from Abby to Zara,” NYT economist Justin Wolfers wrote.
The chart demonstrates that among America’s top companies, for each female executive, there are four male executives named John, Robert, William, or James.
Wolfers also uses the chart to demonstrate the impermeability of the glass ceiling in political offices.
The U.S. has had four presidents named William, five named John, and six named James. And guess which are the most common names of women presidents? Oh right, none.
Compustat, Ernst & Young, Roll Call, Center for American Women and Politics, economics department webpages / Via nytimes.com
There is a clear partisan divide of Senate Republicans vs. Democrats, with Democrats currently showing much more gender diversity.
The amount of Senate Republicans named John is equal to the total number of women, while in the House there are 1.36 “Jims-Bobs-Jacks-Bills” for every woman.
On the Democratic side however, women outnumber “Jims-Bobs-Jacks-Bills” by a pretty large margin in both the Senate and House.
This continues into the executive branch, where President Obama has appointed only one John (Kerry) and one Robert (McDonald), who are outnumbered by six women.
The only John on the Supreme Court (Justice John Roberts) is outnumbered by three women. So according to the Glass Ceiling Index, they’re doing okay right now.
The Glass Ceiling Index “points to an important truth,” Wolfers concludes, “that in many important decision-making areas of American life, women remain vastly outnumbered.”