Where Are The Women CEO’s?


Take Charge & Change the Trend

Contributed by Galia Gichon

There was an excellent special report in the Wall Street Journal about Women in the Economy.  Did you know that there are only eleven female CEOs out of all of the Fortune 500 companies?  In fact, this number has actually declined in the last couple of years!

So, where are all of the women CEOs anyway?  And what can we do to change our corporate fate?  Although not every woman wants to become the CEO of a giant corporation, we all should remind ourselves of an important lesson: setting yourself up to succeed is not just about how other people perceive you – it’s about how you perceive yourself!

Focus on Your Potential Not Just Your Performance

What struck a chord with me in the article was a comment by Vikram Malhotra of McKinsey and Co;  “Middle management women get promoted on performance.  Middle management men get promoted on potential.”  This is crazy thing to hear, but it also makes sense based on many of the jobs and career paths women gravitate towards.

One solution is to get women out of their traditional corporate roles, like human resources, and guide them towards departments that are profit centers where they will be more likely get groomed for more executive positions.  If more more women focus on securing “ nontraditional” female jobs, the standards will have to change on how and when we get promotions.

Fight for Flexibility

Often times, the more kids a woman has, the less interested she is in vying for a promotion that will force her to spend even more time away from home.  While men are typically the opposite; the more kids they have, the more pressure they feel to get promoted. And our corporate and social systems are designed to support this type of motivation.  Clearly, women do not feel they have the same corporate and familial support as they move up the ladder, but flexibility in the workplace could change that and help create more opportunities for hardworking women to have it all!

Get On Board

Another key action step that I find empowering, is to encourage more women to market themselves to take positions on corporate boards.  One way to do this is to create training programs to teach women how to get on a board and how to make the most of it!

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One Response to “Where Are The Women CEO’s?”

  1. Louie says:

    I find the comment about “Potential” vs. “Performance” quite interesting. It should always be performance, as the original hire was for Potential, which is unproven until you get performance. In my opinion, today’s workforce is headed toward female domination, but due to the obvious biological differences between the sexes, and child bearing years, it’s quite possible that responsibilities of CEO status is too demanding for female leadership. This would be coming from the female set themselves and I wonder if there has been any studies showing this. Very interesting subject that bares additional research needed.

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