Focusing on CEO leadership and sponsoring women CEOs is one of WBC’s nine main action initiatives. We know that advancing women in the workplace needs to happen at all levels, and organizations that change from the top down are the most successful at shifting their culture. Yet women’s representation in CEO roles across both the public and private sectors remains low. This brief provides insights into why we’re so passionate about women CEOs and the change we are pushing for.
Why focus on CEOs?
While women have made some strides in the workplace overall, representation among CEOs remains low.
- The number of female CEOs at Fortune 500 companies stood at 7.4% as of April 2020, up from 6.7% a year earlier (Fortune)
- Less than 2% of F500 CEO’s are women of color none of whom are black (Fortune)
- More than half of organizations didn’t assess a single female candidate when searching for their next CEO according to a 2020 report from leadership consultancy DDI. The study drew data from 55,000 executive assessments including 1,100 CEO candidates over the period of a decade.
- Working Mother Media’s 2019 survey of 3000 men and women leaders showed that 37% of women said their company provides information on career paths to executive positions while 64% of men reported access to the same information
How can we change this? With our initiative partners at C200, Catalyst, and The Executive Leadership Council (ELC), we’re working to track, profile, and publicly celebrate the appointment of new female CEOs. We’re also leveraging our partners research and data to publish a white paper of achievements of Women CEOs and changes in the composition of female CEOs at Fortune 500, S&P 500, Russell 3000 and private companies.
Our hope is that through collective action, we can see:
- 15% of F500 and S&P 500 CEO roles are women by 2025; 20% by 2030
- 10% of female CEO’s are women of color by 2025
- Women constitute 20% of those being considered for CEO roles by 2025; 30% by 2030
- 30% of women being considered for CEO roles by 2030 of which 25% are women of color