Catalyst – A Champion for Women Leaders

You probably know Catalyst – the highly respected advocacy and research group devoted to the advancement of women in organizational leadership roles. If you don’t, here’s a quick summary of their history and what they provide in the way of products and services.

Catalyst was founded in 1962 by Felice N. Schwartz to help women enter the workforce. Five college presidents (from Lawrence, Mills, Sarah Lawrence, Smith, and Wellesley) endorsed the idea of an organization that would work to expand options for women, and formed Catalyst’s first board of directors.

By 1974, Catalyst was recognizing the need for data – and began building what is today the largest and most referenced data base in the world on the topic of women and work. Catalyst surveys and research projects serve as a trusted resource for corporate policy makers, scholars, and journalists, and often set the agenda for discussions on the topic of women in leadership roles.

The Catalyst website is a treasure trove of great facts and figures. From the famous “pyramid” charts that show where women stand today in corporate leadership levels to specific white papers on various research projects, the website is quite literally a living history of women’s leadership in organizations.

But Catalyst is more than just surveys and data; they provide advisory and benchmarking services, Corporate Board placement services, a Speaker’s Bureau, and tips and advice for women seeking answers to common leadership questions. They also bestow the prestigious Catalyst Awards – an annual recognition of the top companies in the world that are advancing women in leadership. Since 1987, Catalyst has recognized 74 initiatives at 69 organizations with the Catalyst Award.

Check out their website – it’s a good one to bookmark for a variety of reasons. For starters, it’s packed with terrific research, and secondly, it’s just a really smart site that role models a passion for an important, worthy initiative.