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Leadership News Briefs

8.2 Percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are Women, According to Women CEOs in America Report

The comprehensive report highlights progress for women in leadership across the Fortune 500 and 1000, Russell 3000, S&P 500, private companies and entrepreneurs. Representation of more women of color in business leadership roles is imperative.

Women Business Collaborative (WBC) with Ascend, C200 and Catalyst, has released the second annual report highlighting Women CEOs in America: Changing the Face of Business Leadership.  The report draws on data and includes the most comprehensive breakdown of women in corporate leadership in the US. It was released on October 13th via a live roundtable discussion.

The report draws on data from Fortune 500 and 1000, S&P, Russell 3000 and private companies. It is a comprehensive look at women running public and private companies. It also looks at women-led start-ups and female entrepreneurs with more than $500 million in revenue. Additionally, it spotlights the status of diverse women CEOs. It provides an assessment of the women in the executive suite pipeline, a critical piece of the puzzle for elevating more women to the CEO role.

Six women CEOs in America
Photo by Patricia McDougall

Highlighting women CEOs in America

  • Women currently in CEO roles: 8.2 percent in the Fortune 500; 7.3 percent in the Fortune 1000; 6 percent in the S&P; 5.6 percent across the Russell 3000; and 7.4 percent at private companies with revenue over $1 billion.
  • The numbers for women in leadership are moving in the right direction. The Fortune 500 is up to 8.2 percent from 6.6 percent in 2019. However, progress is still too slow and not reflective of the nation.
  • Women of color hold only one percent of CEO positions across the Fortune 1000.
  • In 2021, the number of women running businesses on the Fortune 500 hit an all-time record of 41. Six more women joined the ranks of Fortune 500 CEOs.
  • Ten specific accelerators for companies of all types to join the WBC movement to help strengthen the pipeline of women leaders and make diversity a priority in succession planning.

“WBC members share two abiding principles: a belief in the transformative power of business to effect change, and the imperative to create more diverse leadership teams who can meet the moment of a rapidly evolving world,” said Edie Fraser, CEO of WBC. “Reporting on the hard data, sharing the facts and telling the real stories is critical to accelerating progress toward advancing more women – and more women of color – in business.”

About the Women Business Collaborative

Women Business Collaborative is an alliance of more than 59 women’s business organizations, Advisory and Leaders Council champions, companies and individuals working together to achieve equal position, pay and power for all women in business. The power of combining the collaborative approach with our movement is already creating momentum and accelerating the pace of change for businesswomen.

Some encouraging news: Russell 3000 boards are more than halfway to gender parity.

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