Despite the fact that only 5% of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are women, in a survey of corporate executives both men and women estimated that number to be an average of 23%.
My own shock at these and other gender statistics five years ago created my passion to help create gender neutrality for my girls who are entering adulthood hoping to have all the opportunities their brother has.
The Female Reputation Premium report was part of a larger report by Weber Shandwick on CEO’s globally. The report shows that when women do make it to the CEO position, their reputation is as good or better than men at similar companies.
This is good news since Shandwick estimates almost half of a company’s reputation and net worth are affected by the CEO’s reputation. What this says to me is
once women are given the opportunity to lead, then employees, customers and even media do value her work through a gender neutral lens.
The issues that hold women back from top positions still remain within the corporations themselves.
Yet, what stands out for me is the disconnect between our perceived reality and what is really happening–even women’s perception. Here are some facts:
- 5% of Fortune 500 CEO’s are women.
- 7% of venture capital money funds women-led companies.
- Wages for women average 72% of their male colleages.
- Companies with women at the top have 34% greater returns than male dominated companies.
If you have read much of my work you know I believe we create our reality through our thoughts, first. I tend to spend very little time dwelling on or complaining about what is wrong–because let’s face it we create what we focus on. However, I cannot fix a hole in my boat and prevent sinking if I don’t notice the hole; nor can I enjoy a trip if I do not pay attention to what time the plane leaves and make sure I am on it. Some attention to “what is” has to happen while we are creating “what we want to be”.
It is imperative women globally start to know these numbers and vote with their purchasing power to demonstrate to companies that
gender neutral management teams matter and
corporations with women in leadership get our dollars.
Have you downloaded the Buyup app yet? It is an easy way to start modifying your personal purchases to support companies that support values you care about. An organization called 20/20 has the goal of seeing 20% of Fortune 1000 companies with women leaders by 2020. They are another good resource to help you evaluate companies.
The message is to be aware of if you are on the plane, and if not, do something to make sure you get there, right? Even if you do not aspire to being a corporate CEO, the decisions made by gender neutral teams will better serve your long term values than the status quo. Each year that goes by with fewer women on that CEO plane affects our world. These companies are making decisions that affect where things are manufactured, who they hire, what their work conditions are, how much pollution they create, and how the products are being marketed to you, your children and everyone else. These companies affect much of your life directly and indirectly.