By Mike Dunn

PHIALDELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia City Council today put a spotlight on what some say is a dearth of women in executive positions in the Philadelphia region.

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Autumn Bayles, an Aramark vice president and head of the Forum of Executive Women, told councilmembers that only 11 percent of local board seats are filled with women, and 10 percent of executive positions.

Irene Hannan, a senior vice president at Citizens Bank, said there’s no need for this to persist.

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“Let’s dispense quickly with the often heard statement, ‘I’d put a woman on the board if I could only find a qualified one.’  Qualified women do exist, and in growing numbers,” she told the panel.

Patricia Connolly, also of the Forum of Executive Women, said the nominating process of many corporate boards becomes a “self-fulfilling exercise” in which a lack of diversity on the board is perpetuated by those who sit on it.

Bayles recommended the formation of a coalition of government, business, and academic groups to focus on the issue — modeled on what she said was a successful such effort in Kansas City.

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