Second Annual Women CEOs in America Report Released at National Press Club
Comprehensive Report Highlights Progress for Women in Leadership Across the Fortune 500 and 1000, Russell 3000, S&P 500, Private Companies and Entrepreneurs Released – showing 8.2% of Fortune 500 CEOs are Women with women of color being only 1% of all CEOs
Washington, D.C. – October 13, 2021 – 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, which draws on data and includes the most comprehensive breakdown of women in corporate leadership in the US, was presented on October 13th via a live roundtable discussion.
Drawing on data from Fortune 500 and 1000, S&P, Russell 3000 and private companies, the report is a comprehensive look at women running public and private companies, as well as women-led start-ups and female entrepreneurs with more than $500 million in revenue. It also spotlights the status of diverse women CEOs and 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.
The report shows that today 8.2% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. The data for 2021 is as follows:
% of women
Private (< 1 billion)
While the numbers for women in leadership are moving in the right direction, with the Fortune 500 up to 8.2% from 6.6% in 2019, 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
“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.”
Moderated by 2021 NPC President Lisa Matthews, the Women CEOs in America roundtable discussion included expert insights from Ms. Fraser and WBC’s partners, including Anna Mok, President & CEO of Ascend and Ascend Foundation; Kimber Maderazzo, Chair of the Board of C200; Lorraine Hariton, CEO of Catalyst; Jenny Johnson, CEO of Franklin Resources; and Margery Kraus, Founder and Executive Chair and former CEO of APCO Worldwide.
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. These include intentionality, sponsorship, advocacy and working together to drive change.
Insights from panelists include:
“Progress is very slow. It’s hard to believe we are in the year 2021 and we are still talking about firsts for women and the need for women to be engaged because we know that women are behind everything. At the AP we say there’s a great writer behind every story. There’s a great woman behind every business.” ~ Lisa Matthews, 20:37
“Undisputed progress at large is too slow and for women of color it is even slower. We are often forgotten, and I can say that because I think that’s what the numbers show. We have to make regular strides … I think it’s important for companies to really think about and be intentional about that.” ~ Anna Mok, 15:59
“We need to make progress happen at a much quicker pace. We have set a goal for the Fortune 500 to be at 15% by 2025 and right now we are only on track for 10% – that’s not good enough.” ~ Lorraine Hariton, 12:55
“We’ve talked so much about women being in these roles and in the pipeline. We need to celebrate them and keep them in these roles and they need to bring other women up with them.” ~ Kimber Maderazzo, 17:42
“We talk about purposeful leadership. I think that women often resonate with what they do in a purposeful way. Unconscious bias is real and I think women have at times been left behind because there’s assumptions about the certain way in which they react to something, that maybe others view as a weakness.” – Jenny Johnson, 30:20
“Now there’s proof in a lot of studies that having diversity and having women in leadership is important. I think what the pandemic has proven is that empathetic leadership – which is normally associated with women [and] being empathetic seen as a weakness – [is] such a strength and that is helping people understand the value of women in leadership positions.” ~ Margery Kraus, 27:58
A full copy of the report can be downloaded here and the roundtable discussion can be viewed here. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter @WBCollaborative, on Instagram @womenbusinesscollaborative and join the discussion with #WBCFasterTogether.
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. We are a business movement consisting of millions of diverse, professional women and men, business organizations, public and private companies and the media leveraging the power of collaboration to accelerate change. The power of combining the collaborative approach with our movement is already creating momentum and accelerating the pace of change for businesswomen. www.wbcollaborative.org
Ascend is the largest Pan-Asian business professional membership organization in North America dedicated to driving workplace and societal impact by developing and elevating all Asian and Pacific Islander (API) business leaders and empowering them to become catalysts for change.
C200‘s mission is to educate, support, and advance women in business. Its
community includes the most successful women entrepreneurs and corporate
business leaders who have joined together to change the face of business leadership.
Catalyst is a global nonprofit supported by many of the world’s most powerful CEOs and leading companies to help build workplaces that work for women. Founded in 1962, Catalyst drives change with preeminent thought leadership, actionable solutions and a galvanized community of multinational corporations to accelerate and advance women into leadership.
WBC Contact: Media Contact:
Gwen Young Suzanne Hallberg
Chief Operating Officer, WBC Zip Communications