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In February 2021, Jane Fraser will shatter a glass ceiling by becoming the first woman  to be named CEO of a major Wall Street bank. So, too, will Karen Lynch become CEO of the giant consumer healthcare company with revenue of $256 billion last year. Fraser will make history by replacing Citigroup’s current CEO, Michael Corbat, in February 2021 while Karen Lynch will also become CEO of CVS Health replacing Larry Merlo.  Fraser and Lynch appointments are only one of the many advancements women have made in the corporate world as CEOs during 2020, and the latest announcement of Lynch since the report was published October 26, 2020. Just this year the number of women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies increased by 21%, from 33 to 39 women total (and now by Feb. there will be 40; moving the statistic up to 8%).  In collaboration with C200 and Catalyst, the Women’s Business Collaborative(WBC) shares the USA’s first Women CEOs in America Report and website to profile women CEOs, track data on their progress, and set goals for the near future.

When Carol Tome was named CEO of UPS, she shared her pride and her hope for more CEO appointments stating, “UPS can be the company others look to and say, ‘We can do that, too.’ That’s motivational for all of us.” There has been a general uptick in the number of women in executive positions in both the public and private sector, but a major pipeline issue still exists. There is still a long way to go before women of diverse backgrounds are equally represented in the C-Suite and become CEOs, as we have seen with Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo and Ursula Burns of Xerox.

The Women CEOs in America Report identifies not only women from Fortune 500, S&P 500, and Russell 3000 companies but also highlights women heading private companies, nonprofits, and media and women entrepreneurs with revenues over half a million. The report is the first of its kind – due to its comprehensiveness and ability to offer concrete analysis. From this analysis, we are able to draw conclusions on where women business leaders are situated in 2020 – and how to continue to support them. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women held 51.5% of all management, professional, and related occupations as of 2018. However, this statistic does not translate to the upper realms of corporate management. The Women CEOs in America Report found that women only hold 7.8% of CEO positions in Fortune 500 companies and less than 1% identify as people of color. This new report sets clear goals and milestones for as soon as 2025 – aiming to have 30% of women filling CEO roles and of these, 25% should be women of color. Recruiting more women to fulfill executive roles doesn’t just improve representation, it helps businesses perform better. The Women CEOs in America Report highlights the statistic that companies with at least 10% women executives outperform male-only companies by around 410 basis points since 2014. From this, it is obvious that businesses and organizations must make the intentional choice to appoint more women – for the sake of equality and success of their ventures.

While 2020 has been a significant year of improvement for women executives, the momentum must continue to achieve goals of parity and empowerment. Lorraine Harinton CEO, Catalyst states, “there is still much more work that needs to be done to create more equitable, inclusive and fulfilling opportunities and workplaces for everyone.” The Women CEOs in America Report sets a goal of achieving full gender parity in the C-Suite by 2030, along with ensuring 25% of these women identify as people of color. In order to make this a reality, the report outlines how the gender pipeline needs to be repaired – through intentional long-term planning focusing on investment in mentorship, hiring, and career development of women from diverse backgrounds. Kimber Maderazzo, Chairman of the C200 board explains these actions are timely and necessary because “the onus falls on us to ensure the next generation has equal access to opportunity.” By reporting 2020 data and focusing on future trajectories and goals, The Women CEOs in America Report is crucial to creating sustainable change for gender equity. In the years to come, this project will continue its historic reach by tracking the number of women CEOs appointed to executive roles and mapping their profiles. WBC is committing to action by highlighting women CEOs as they are appointed. In the words of WBC’s CEO Edie Fraser, “This moment is singular and provides an opportunity to create sustainable change. The time is NOW! Platitudes are no longer acceptable.”

Visit the site for more information and to keep up to date with new findings: http://womenceoreport.org/ 

Written By: Edie Fraser, CEO Women Business Collaborative

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