The total number of women CEOs in the Fortune 500 may only be at 32, but according to data, the numbers are growing at a significant pace.
The Washington Post reported that the current set of 32 is an all-time high. “When Fortune Magazine released its 2017 Fortune 500 list, which ranks major U.S. companies by their fiscal revenues…32 of the companies, or 6.4 percent, were run by female CEOs.”
In the magazine’s 63-year history of the list, this is the highest proportion yet. Last year, there were just 21 women on the list, highlighting the significant shift that has fostered 2017’s record-breaking proportion.
“Roughly a third of the women running companies on the list are new to the job: A startling 11 women were named CEO of companies in 2016 or early 2017 that are on this year’s Fortune 500 list,” The Washington Post stated, “including Vicki Hollub at Occidental Petroleum, Tricia Griffith at the insurer Progressive, Shira Goodman at Staples, Margo Georgiadis at Mattel and Michele Buck at Hershey. At Hertz Global Holdings, Kathryn Marinello was named to the top job late last year, as was Anna Manning at Reinsurance Group of America.”
Jumping from 21 to 32 CEOs in the span of a single year is impressive, and The Washington Post noted that the shift is telling. It comes at a time when investors are paying more attention to the necessity of diversity in the boardroom. “Financial companies are adding products that let investors bet on companies with more women at the top, as research demonstrates a link between diversity and better performance,” The Washington Post stated.
“That may be one reason executive compensation experts say,” reported The Washington Post, “that the median female CEO, surprisingly, makes more than her male peer. While the explanation for why is unclear – it could, of course, simply be due to better performance, or companies could pay a “diversity premium” for a female CEO – the median female CEO made $13.1 million in 2016, compared with $11.4 million for the median male CEO.”
The growing number of women Fortune 500 CEOs in the US is an exciting and refreshing prospect. It makes it all the more likely that when future lists roll in, the number of women will continue breaking records for years to come.
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