If you had to guess, how many of the top 500 companies in the United States are run by women?
The answer: 25.
Women make up just shy of half the labor force in many countries, but they're rarely seen in positions of senior leadership.
Judith Rodin, president of The Rockefeller Foundation, puts it this way: "When you see that of the 22,000 publicly listed companies, 60% of them still have no women on their boards, then it’s understandable why it’s harder and harder to have women who rise in the corporate ranks." She continues, "The more women in leadership, the more role models there are, the more women will be able to envision themselves in that position."
The Rockefeller Foundation is advocating for 100x25: 100 women leading Fortune 500 companies by the year 2025.
Check out this video to learn more about it:
Who's her role model? This foundation wants to see 100 women CEOs in Fortune 500 companies by 2025.Posted by Upworthy on Tuesday, November 22, 2016
"When the women speak, there’s a very different attitude in terms of listening than when the men speak."
We’ve all heard the story about a woman in a conference room. She makes a point. She’s overlooked. A man repeats her point. He’s heard and praised. We've come up with a name for this behavior: manterrupting. It’s been endlessly parodied, and more and more women have shared their stories. But not much has changed. In fact, studies have shown that women who speak up are perceived as aggressive, not assertive.
Then there’s the matter of how women look. In the workplace, a woman’s appearance matters. A lot. And it shouldn’t.
The examples are almost too abundant to name. There's Nancy McKinstry, CEO of a Dutch publishing and information company. She held a strategy meeting to discuss the company’s direction. The press in attendance focused not on the ideas she presented, but on her outfit, commenting that the suit she wore was the same color as the outfit worn by KLM flight attendants. It didn’t matter that she was a woman leading a company. Her presentation was still reduced to the clothes she wore.
And there’s Hillary Clinton, the first woman to win a major party’s nomination for president. Regardless of where your political allegiances lie, that’s a pretty impressive feat. But throughout the election, her femininity and even the pitch of her voice were frequently fodder for debate and uncomfortably detailed observation by folks who were far more accustomed to seeing and hearing from men.
So what happens when, in spite of these roadblocks, women are given the chance to lead? They kick ass.
But first, they have to prove themselves. When a female CEO is announced, people get a little bit scared — one study showed that stock in a company actually drops. That’s sad. What many people may not know is that when given the chance, women-run companies perform well. In fact, they perform three times better, on average, than S&P 500 companies primarily led by men.
Take HSN, which is led by Mindy Grossman. She increased the value of her company’s initial investment by over 500%. Debra Cafaro at Ventas did the same. You can bet the people who held onto those stocks thank them.
Additionally, a study by the National Center for Women & Information Technology found that increased gender diversity leads to increased profitability and productivity, with team members experimenting more and fulfilling tasks more efficiently than companies with less gender diversity.
Why do women-run companies perform so well?
The answer is up for debate, but the women who make it to the top in spite of the roadblocks in their way are the absolute best, which probably has something to do with it. The women who make it have a lot to prove, and they understand the implication of their success (or failure) on future generations of women.
"That challenge, that risk, is almost what drives, I think, many of us to take the next step and to prove everybody wrong."
There’s no reason women shouldn’t be running at least one-fifth of the top 500 companies.
Imagine the possibilities if young women got the chance to see other women in positions of power. They'd expect the same and more of themselves. They'd shoot for the stars and they wouldn't miss, because they'd feel confident that their goals could be achieved.
Together, we can make it happen.