No company is better known for selling dolls than Mattel is for its Barbies, but what you probably don't know is that the toy company employs zero women in its leadership and just three women on its board of directors. That's the kind of information LedBetter, a web app focused on gender diversity, thinks you should be able to find before you fork over your money.

LedBetter, which went live Tuesday morning, is a database that shows you the representation of  women in positions of power among the most well-known companies in the world. This website makes it easy for consumers to find out if their favorite brands value the promotion of women to top roles.

"People don't have any easy way to see this information, and on top of that, sometimes the results are surprising. You have men leading companies that make products almost exclusively for women," said Iris Kuo, co-founder of LedBetter, which is a research group that is primarily volunteer-run. "So we thought 'Why not make that obvious for people?'"

The data collected by LedBetter is available on most of these company's websites, but that information can be scattered all across the web and difficult to find. Additionally, it can tricky to figure out who the parent company of your favorite brands might be. LedBetter brings all this information to a centralized location, making it possible for shoppers to see a brand's workforce composition before making a purchase from that company.

"I hope that people take away a better understanding specifically of the products that they use in their everyday lives and what the female representation is at the companies that make those products," Kuo said.

Besides the lack of women at Mattel, LedBetter also discovered that only 14 of the 230 companies in its index have a female CEO. The indexed companies have an average of 20.9 percent representation of women in executive and board roles. And when it comes to specific companies, none stand out more than Coty, the personal care company behind many top celebrity fragrances, including those of Beyonce and Katy Perry. Coty has no women in either executive roles or on its board of directors.

In essence, LedBetter wants to give consumers this kind of information so they will know where brands stand on diversity before opening up their wallets to these companies. LedBetter is planning to update its gender ratio index on an annual basis and continue expanding its list of companies. The hope is this type of transparency will put more pressure on companies to promote women to top roles.

"What we're trying to do is be helpful to this rising awareness of the lack of diversity...across every industry," Kuo said.

Published on: Jun 14, 2016