The glass ceiling has come to epitomize the collective forces at corporations that prevent women from rising to the C-suite in numbers on par with men. Treasury & Risk‘s annual survey on women in finance again reveals that most women responding (83%) say the glass ceiling exists, while most men say it doesn’t (71%). Invisible barriers or not, the gender gap is real. Women held about 14% of executive positions at companies in 2010, barely inching forward in the last couple of years. In light of the financial crisis, that might be seen as progress. Not losing heart through this long journey, the outstanding women in finance featured in this issue show that perseverance, hard work and delivering results do count. Look for profiles of some of these women in our T&RExpress newsletter for more inspiration.

T&R also shines the spotlight on middle-market companies–such as Biomet, CareerBuilder and SFN–that are seeking technology to help them go global, streamline operations and realize a quick return on investment, reports senior contributing editor Richard Gamble. Meanwhile, two stories from contributing editor John Hintze examine better ways to track supplier credit risk and how the SEC’s proposal to revise stock repurchase rules could prove a boon for companies planning buybacks.

A final note: Frustrated by the underrepresentation of women at last year’s meeting of global business and political leaders in Davos, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum reportedly told its roster of 100 corporate sponsors–big leaguers like Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, BP and Coca-Cola–that one in five of their delegates must be women. That move was expected to double the number of women delegates from these companies this year. Do the math.