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Monica Smiley

Monica Smiley is editor and publisher of Enterprising Women. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute of Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW). To learn more about how you can become a mentor in the Peace Through Business program or donate to the organization, visit Contact her at

Network of Executive Women and CCL identify ‘green lights’ and ‘stop signs’ for women in consumer goods and retail

green lights report 2016CHICAGO (September 28, 2016) – The Network of Executive Women published a new report today outlining steps companies can take to advance women leaders in the retail and consumer goods industry.

Produced in conjunction with the Center for Creative Leadership, “Green Lights & Stop Signs: The Road to Gender Parity in Retail and Consumer Goods,” outlines critical support factors and common barriers that affect women’s careers.

Conflicting work/life priorities, being overlooked and undervalued, and being undermined were cited as barriers preventing women from being promoted.

“The retail and consumer goods industry recognizes the importance of creating workplace cultures and policies that level the playing field for women,” NEW President and CEO Joan Toth said. “By working together, organizations and talent can create workplaces where everyone can fulfill their potential.”

Key findings

The report surveyed more than 900 NEW members and found that:

  • Nearly a quarter of the women surveyed identified competing work/life priorities as a reason they have held back from pursuing leadership positions.
  • Women are often overlooked, not developed for leadership positions and perceived as having less leadership potential or career commitment.
  • Women of color face more career barriers and experience less career support.
  • Women of all ages and career levels would benefit from greater developmental support.
  • A significant percentage of women say their career goals have been undermined, intentionally and unintentionally, by superiors or peers. They report their qualifications are routinely questioned.
  • Career barriers become minor obstacles for some and insurmountable challenges for others. Many of these obstacles can be removed when organizations and women tackle them together.
  • The most predictive factors of career satisfaction are the level of an organization’s developmental support and the degree to which women experience being overlooked and underappreciated.

“Green Lights & Stop Signs” is a follow up to "Accelerators: Critical Competencies for Women Leaders in Retail and Consumer Goods," which identified 13 factors that can make or break a woman’s career in the retail and consumer goods industry.

About NEW
Founded in 2001, the Network of Executive Women, Retail, Consumer Goods and Services, represent nearly 10,000 members from more than 750 companies, 100 corporate sponsors and 20 regions in the U.S. and Canada. For more information about the Network of Executive Women and its national and regional learning programs, events, content and best practices, visit

About CCL

Center for Creative Leadership is a top-ranked, global provider of executive education. For more information, visit the organization’s website at

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