Lehman Sisters

04.22.133:59 PM ET

Leaning In, BRIC-style

Women from the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China are surpassing Americans and Europeans in scaling the corporate ladder.

Thanks to Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, the paltry number of women at the highest levels of corporate America has been much in the news lately. Around the world, though, the picture is more encouraging. “[I]n the emerging economies of the so-called BRIC countries—Brazil, Russia, India and China—women are surpassing their American and European counterparts in reaching the top rungs of corporate leadership,” NPR reports. While only three percent of CEOs of top American companies are female, in India, the figure is 11 percent, and in Brazil, it’s 12 percent. One important reason is that working mothers are buttressed by a combination of extended family support and low-cost domestic help: “Women in the BRIC countries are able to return to work sooner after having children, while many women in the U.S. disengage from the workforce completely while their children are young,” says NPR.