2020 Vision for Rhode Island Women

When filling senior management positions, do you require recruiters to present a diverse slate of candidates? Does your Human Resource function conduct a wage audit? What are the greatest obstacle your organization faces in advancing women in leadership roles?

These were some of the questions asked in a survey conducted by Vision 2020 Rhode Island under the leadership of Marcia Coné, CEO of Women’s Fund, RI and Susan Colantuono, CEO of Leading Women. Both are Rhode Island delegates to  Vision 2020 a national, decade-long initiative developed by the Institute for Women’s Heath and Leadership at Drexel University College of Medicine to advance women’s equality before the landmark 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in 2020.

Each state has one or more initiative underway; in Rhode Island the focus area is Women’s economic participation. The goal here is two-fold: a) to increase the number of women executives and women on corporate boards and b) to continue progress in reducing the wage gap.

To support and measure Vision 2020-RI’s  effort over the next nine years (and to establish a baseline) a state-wide survey was conducted for the largest for-profit and nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. The results from this survey are now available in the report ” 2020 Vision for Rhode Island: Women, Leadership and Wages“, a first of its kind.  Along with its survey findings, the report also examines obstacles and barriers facing Women, offers best practices, and recommends actions that can be implemented in any organization.

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Some key findings from this report:

  • Commitment to  Women Leadership: Neither profits or nonprofits have a clearly defined strategy to progress women into senior leadership roles.
  • Advancing Women into Senior Leadership: Less than half of for-profit respondents required a diverse slate of candidates.  In nonprofits 62% respondents always required recruiters to present a diverse slate of candidates.
  • Wage Equity: Both for-profit and nonprofits companies conduct wage audits and 39% of for-profit and 50% of nonprofits have made wage adjustments upon finding inequity.
  • Women on Boards: 46% of for-profits and 37% of nonprofits require a diverse slate of candidates for open board positions.
  • Advancing Women into Leadership: Three obstacle were common to for-profits and nonprofits companies: Lack of qualified candidates, lack of commitment for women’s advancement; low turnover of Senior Managers.

While many CEO’s and Senior Leaders from wide range of industries have made a serious commitment for Women’s advancement, survey findings indicate more needs to be done in Rhode Island. The advancement of women and their success is widely cited as an important factor in improving financial performance of companies. If your company does not have the leadership or programs that support advancing women, is it not time to start a conversation?


The survey was developed and conducted by the Vision 2020 Rhode Island Corporate Sub Committee. A total of 22 Rhode Island companies (9 nonprofits and 13 for-profit) participated in the survey.  

Vision 2020 Rhode Island Corporate Sub Committee Members
Reneé Aloisio, Lisa Bergeron, Cheryl Burrell, Stephanie Chamberlin, Chris Deignan, Carmen Diaz Jusino, Jyoti Ganesh, Cheryl Haynes, Kate Kennedy, Stephanie Ledoux, Linda Lulli
Jean Pelletier, Angela Wiczek