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Bay Area Tech Companies Still Lag on Gender Diversity

Facebook, Apple pay for women to freeze eggs 1:06

Gender diversity in the San Francisco Bay Area technology sector has improved over the last five years, but the region's most gender-diverse businesses are in the retail, biopharmaceuticals and financial services sector, a new study from the University of California, Davis, found.

Out of the 223 largest publicly traded companies headquartered in the Bay Area, more than one third had either zero or just one top position held by a woman, the study found.

Still, that represents a big improvement from five years ago, when almost two-thirds of Bay Area companies had either zero or one top position held by a woman.

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Retailer Williams-Sonoma, biopharmaceutical company Medivation and bank Wells Fargo ranked as the companies with the most high-ranking positions held by women, researchers said. In the technology sector, the most diverse player was software company Zendesk, tied for No. 4. Search engine Yahoo, led by Chief Executive Marissa Mayer, tied for No. 8.

The results come as major companies make public efforts to hire more women and ethnic minorities. In particular, there has been a national debate about the lack of diversity at Silicon Valley's tech companies.

The study defined top position as either a company board member or an executive whose compensation was high enough to be disclosed to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Those with no women in a top position included network security company Palo Alto Networks, data company Hortonworks and Cypress Semiconductor.

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