Number of female CEOs in Fortune 500 companies up by 95% in the last 6 years
- The number of female CEOs heading Fortune 500 companies has grown by 95% to date.
- From 21 in 2016, the number now stands at 41, representing 8.2% of all the CEOs.
- Though impressive, the growth belies the underrepresentation of women in the top leadership positions.
Equality advocates have for years been agitating for more diversity in the running of Fortune 500 companies. This is evident in the increasing number of women occupying the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) position in those companies. Recently, BanklessTimes.com has presented data backing that reality. The firm’s analysis shows that female CEOs there have grown by 95% in the last 6 years.
From 21 CEOs in 2016, the number has increased to 41 today. That’s an impressive feat indeed. However, it belies a sobering fact: women remain underrepresented at the helm of these companies. Despite the growth, women account for a paltry 8.2% of that position’s holders.
That means that as much as we’d like to celebrate the progress made, there’s still much work to be done. The same applies to most other industries where women are underrepresented in positions of power despite the gains made over time.
Why Does this Matter?
Not only does it illustrate a clear gender disparity issue in a professional setting. But it also reveals the lethargy in addressing this issue. This lack of representation means that many women are not getting a fair chance to prove themselves capable leaders and innovators within their respective industries.
Research shows that having women in leadership positions is beneficial for businesses overall. Some studies have associated having more women in leadership roles with increased profitability and lowered risk-taking. Others have found that firms with women on their boards displayed higher returns on equity and higher valuations.
Moreover, the studies show the lack of women representation at this level is not due to a lack of interest. Instead, it’s due to the lack of opportunity. The same studies found no barriers to entry into leadership positions for women seeking them. The only thing stopping them is access!
Empowering women to leadership roles
There are various reasons why there is an attrition of women at higher levels in an organization, but one of them seems to be self-doubt. To reverse this, society needs to start challenging its assumptions about what a leader looks like and what they can do.
Also, women need to encourage each other to take risks, assertive, and not shy away from stretch assignments. They have to be more vocal about their accomplishments. That’ll get them noticed and rewarded for their hard work. Finally, they must learn how to negotiate effectively to get what they deserve.
In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about diversity in the workplace. And while it is great to see so many people working together to make this a reality, we’re not there yet. We need to do more before we can say that diversity is a reality in our workplaces and our world as a whole.
The business magazine Fortune publishes a list of Fortune 500 companies every year. To make this list is a great achievement for any company. Many take that as an indicator of success and stability. The CEOs of these companies are held up as leaders and examples to emulate.