Fortune 500 Company Names New Female CEO, Gender Inequality Still Exists
11:25 am, July 9th | by Grace Rasmus
Duke Energy, the nation’s largest electric power holding company, announced last week that Lynn Good would be their new CEO. As the former CFO and executive vice president of the company, Good will receive an annual base salary of $1.2 million in addition to other incentives, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Her promotion raises the number of female Fortune 500 CEOs to a grand total of 22. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s a jump from 4.2 percent to a whopping 4.4 percent. The number of female Fortune 1000 CEOs is now at just under 5 percent.
These numbers are undeniably depressing but even the tiniest bit of progress is still progress, so we will celebrate Good and her promotion! However, we can’t ignore the fact that there is a severe dearth of women in leadership positions at large companies.
Even in the lower ranks within seniority, women are noticeably absent. Last year, women held just 14.3 percent of executive officer positions at Fortune 500 companies. A quarter of the companies had no women serving in these roles at all. These numbers have stayed pretty much stagnant since 2009. Meanwhile, women hold just 8 percent of the top earning jobs in the country.
Numerous studies have shown that more diversity in the higher ranks of a company leads to better overall performance. One study, for example, found that companies in the MSCI AC World index with a gender-diverse board outperformed those with only men by 26 percent over six years. Another study of Israeli companies found that boards with at least three directors of both genders attending meetings had significantly larger returns on equity and net profit margins.
Increasing opportunities for women can also boost the economy. According to the New York Times, as much as 20 percent of the country’s growth in productivity over the past 50 years can be attributed to fallen barriers in the workforce for women and other groups who had previously been excluded.