By Anna Louie Sussman
The U.S. apparel industry’s leadership ranks are populated by an above-average representation of women, perhaps in recognition of women’s vast spending power. In 2013, American women dropped upwards of $116 billion on clothes, double what men spent that same year.
Fifteen out of 21 companies surveyed had female board membership above the Fortune 1000 average of 16.6 percent; H&M even tipped the scales with a 58 percent female board.
Ann Inc., whose brands include Ann Taylor and Loft, not only has a female CEO and a board and executive committee that are one-third female, but a commitment to filling the leadership pipeline with the next generation. Through its annual ANNpower Leadership Forum, the company pairs Ann Inc. executives and other women leaders from the leadership non-profit Vital Voices with 50 high school sophomores and juniors, then offers grants up to $2,500 for them to implement social projects in their communities.
Anna Louie Sussman is a business and economics reporter based in New York. She has a Master's degree in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a Master's in Business and Economics Reporting from New York University.