Less than one in five board seats at S&P 500 companies are held by women. But a new Rutgers program this fall aims to help women climb the corporate ladder.

A recent Catalyst report also shows that women hold just 26.9 percent of directorships at S&P 500 companies.

Teri Boyer, executive director of the Rutgers Center for Women and Work, says "Leadership Development for Early Career Women" will attempt to reach young women as their careers are still unfolding.

"How they see themselves in roles that will lead them to those leadership positions, and how they are going to get there, actually mapping out a plan," she said.

Boyer says the program is focused on getting women who are just a few years into their professional careers, three to five years, a chance to come together with other women in similar situations. They'll talk about what sorts of things they want to build for their own career plans, how they are going to balance work and life, how they see themselves in roles that will lead them to leadership positions, and how they are going to get there.

According to Boyer, there is something called, "the magic 17 " — the approximate percentage of leaders in politics, or business or law who are female.

"No matter what you look at, be it women's representation in politics, or in corporate America or in other aspects where we are looking at leaders, say law firms, it seems to be that we cannot get off this 'near 17 percent' representation," she said.

Boyer says we need to make sure that we are paying attention to potential leaders, and building their skills and abilities as they move forward on that pathway to leadership.

The leadership development program runs in four sessions through early December on the Rutgers Piscataway campus.

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Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5