The number of female Fortune 500 CEOs reaches new record of 41

  • Dick’s Sporting Goods recently announced Lauren Hobart would become the company’s CEO, raising the number of women leading Fortune 500 companies to 41.
  • Her appointment follows news of other women taking the helm at top companies, like Karen Lynch at CVS Health, Jane Fraser at Citigroup, and Linda Rendle at Clorox. 
  • Yet, only three women on the list of Fortune 500 female CEOs are women of color, according to Fortune. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The number of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies who are women has reached a new record.

Last week, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced that Lauren Hobart, the company’s president of three years, would take the helm as CEO. She is replacing Ed Stack, who’s held the position since 1984 and whose father founded Dick’s in 1948. 

Hobart’s appointment brings the number of women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies to 41 surpassing the previous record high of 40, Fortune reported. Hobart joins a number of other women who’ve recently been named CEO, like Karen Lynch at CVS Health, Jane Fraser at Citigroup, and Linda Rendle at Clorox. 

Despite the recent progress, roughly 8% of all Fortune 500 companies are led by women. And only three women on the list of Fortune 500 CEOs are women of color: Sonia Syngal, the CEO of Gap, Lisa Su, the CEO of Advanced Micro Devices, and Joey Wat, the CEO of Yum China.

According to McKinsey and Lean In’s most recent “Women in the Workplace” report, the number of women in the C-suite grew from 17% to 21% between January 2015 and January 2020. 

As the researchers write, “Women remained dramatically underrepresented — particularly women of color — but the numbers were slowly improving.” 

To increase the number of Black women and women of color in executive leadership positions, diversity, equity, and inclusion strategists recommend companies to review hiring practices, increase sponsorship opportunities for people from marginalized backgrounds, and to hold managers accountable to diversity goals. 

McKinsey research shows companies with more gender and ethnic diversity in the C-suite outperform those that are less diverse. 

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Guest editorial: Much work to be done despite record number of women in Congress | Opinions and Editorials

Women have a lot to celebrate this election season. The most obvious reason, of course, is the elevation and historic rise of California Sen. Kamala Harris to vice president-elect – the first women and Black individual (and person of Indian and Jamaican descent, we might add) to serve in the country’s second-highest position. Women reached many other milestones down the ballot as well. In fact, glass ceilings were shattered around the country as the election has brought more women to Congress than ever before.

Women are so far expected to take 141 seats in the U.S. House and Senate, breaking the 2019 record, when 127 women served, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at the Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics. Among those are at least 50 women of color, surpassing the previous record of 48 set in 2019. Federal policies long shaped by men will get the input of women like never before, realizing the dreams of Susan B. Anthony, Shirley Chisholm and a long list of others who have long fought for better gender representation.

The milestones made by women in politics were both collective and individual as several became “firsts” in their hometowns and states. Democrat Cori Bush became the first Black women to represent Missouri in Congress. New Mexico is the first state to elect all women of color to the U.S. House: Democrats Deb Haaland and Teresa Leger Fernandez and Republican Yvette Herrell. Marilyn Strickland, who is biracial, is the first Korean American women to be elected to Congress and the first Black woman to represent Washington state. Republican Stephanie Bice of Oklahoma will be the first Iranian American to serve in Congress. Women were also elevated to many state levels positions, including Delaware Democrat Sarah McBride who became the country’s first transgender state senator.

More women will lead the executive branches of state governments, too. In total, 94 women will serve as governor or lieutenant governor, surpassing the past record of 91.

Even with these too-long-in-the-making breakthroughs, the country is far from gender equity in politics. More woman than ever still means that women make up just around 26% of all congressional members, despite making up about 51% of the population. Men, who number 394 in Congress to women’s 141, still dominate. And that is to our entire country’s shame and detriment. The Congress should represent its constituents; it’s very simple.

It should be noted that the growth in women’s representation was driven in large part by the election of female Republicans, many of whom helped to turn blue states red, including Cuban American journalist Maria Elvira Salazar, who defeated President Bill Clinton’s former health secretary Rep. Donna Shalala in Florida. Yet women in the Republican Party are still woefully underrepresented, overall. This too, must change. Women are not a monolithic voting bloc and, while they will frequently bring some commonalities to issues, such as the experience of being moms and daughters, they will still offer different perspectives to the political debate

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In S.C. and beyond, a rising number of women in office is a welcome trend |

When voters recently went to the polls to choose who would represent South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, few likely had gender on their minds. And that’s probably as it should have been: Both GOP challenger Nancy Mace and Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham talked about a lot of issues – the economy, offshore drilling, caring for veterans, protecting S.C. military bases, constituent services – during their campaigns. Gender, not so much.

Still, Ms. Mace’s victory has become part of a larger, positive story as the 117th Congress convenes in early January. Its members will include at least 141 women, breaking the record of 129 women now serving. She is one of 17 new GOP congresswomen. It’s a welcome milestone that comes on the heels of the centennial of our 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote (and, by extension in most places, the right to seek elected office).

South Carolina has sent just a handful of women to Congress over the years, and most of them served only short stints after their husbands died in office. That includes Elizabeth Hawley Gasque, the state’s first congresswoman, 1938-39; Clara G. McMillan, 193941; and Corinne Boyd Riley, 1962-63. Only U.S. Rep. Liz Patterson, who represented the Upstate’s 4th Congressional District from 1987-93, did not follow in her husband’s footsteps.

Ms. Mace is poised to become the state’s first woman elected to serve in Washington since Ms. Patterson lost her reelection bid almost three decades ago. Those who know Ms. Mace know she is accustomed to being in “The Company of Men,” (which is the title of the book she wrote after being the first woman to graduate from The Citadel’s Corps of Cadets in 1999).

This state also has made incremental progress in electing women to the Legislature. In recent years, South Carolina ranked at the bottom in the percentage of its state lawmakers who are women, but it now has four female senators (out of 46) and 23 female House members (out of 124). That 16% figure clearly does not represent a major leap forward, and it still lags the national average, but it is slightly better than four other states. And it appears to have improved a tiny bit (one more woman in both the House and Senate) after this fall’s elections.

Of course, these results are part of a larger political picture that also includes the nation’s first female vice president-elect, Kamala Harris, and women voters’ dominant role in helping President-elect Joe Biden. No wonder a recent Wall Street Journal headline declared: “The Year of the Woman Really, Finally Did Arrive in 2020.”

Many voters rightly are wary of candidates who would present their gender or race as their supreme qualification for elected office, more important than their stances on the most important issues of the day. Ultimately, it’s how a candidate will vote and conduct himself (or herself) in office that should win the day.

And that’s largely the way the campaigns for the 1st Congressional District

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