Few women at helm in Illinois

The news: Yahoo announced Marissa Mayer as its CEO in July, making her No. 20 on the list of female Fortune 500 CEOs.Behind the news: Of the 32 Illinois-based companies on the 2012 Fortune 500 list, only three are led by women: Ilene Gordon of Corn Products International, Irene Rosenfeld of Kraft Foods and Patricia Woertz of Archer Daniels Midland.In 2010, women comprised 50.8 percent of the population and 47.1 percent of the labor force in Illinois, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2006-10 American Community Survey.But they covered about 28 percent of “senior level/executive or manager positions” in 2010, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.Nationwide, a 2011 study of the S&P Composite 1500 companies by American Economic Review found that women accounted for 47 percent of the overall workforce from 1997 to 2009 but held only 6 percent of corporate CEO and executive roles.David Matsa, the study’s co-author who is an assistant professor of finance at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, said that there’s a connection between a company’s makeup at the executive level and the number of females in positions of power.“When there are more women holding seats on boards, there is an increase in the amount of females within a company and in top positions,” he said. “Women are certainly each other’s best advocates, and it does matter who is hiring.”

Young immigrants defer taking action

The news: In June, President Barack Obama announced that undocumented youth brought to the United States as minors would be able to gain temporary relief from deportation under his deferred action initiative.Behind the news: In Chicago, 19,702 immigrants are eligible for deferred action, according to an analysis of census data by Rob Paral and Associates, a Chicago-based consulting firm specializing in immigration issues. Of Chicago’s 77 community areas, South Lawndale had the highest number—2,029—of eligible immigrants, followed by Belmont Cragin’s 1,755, Gage Park’s 1,149 and Brighton Park’s 1,108.The analysis, which did not factor in criminal background that may disqualify an applicant, found that an additional 6,334 immigrants could meet the eligibility requirements if they received a GED certificate or equivalent education, and another 6,862 immigrants between the ages of 5 and 14 could become eligible once they turn 15.As of Sept. 13, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said it accepted 82,361 applications nationwide but has so far completed processing only 29 of them.Immigrant advocates said many eligible immigrants may not apply for deferred action, partly due to a concern that their application could end up at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and trigger deportation. But in its memorandum, the Citizenship and Immigration Services makes it clear that the referrals will be made only with selected cases, such as ones that pose concerns over “egregious public safety” or involve serious criminals.But Monica Trevino, communications director for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, said some immigrants still feel uneasy about the possible consequences.“It mostly stems from a fear of the unknown with the election—like what may happen if [Mitt] Romney’s elected, since he would have a different approach,” Trevino said. Immigrants “are afraid that their information will be out there and may be used against them in some respect, and that’s enough reason to be apprehensive.”