[Issue 090] What you should know about the women in the Fortune 500


I come to your inbox today, bearing good news: after a depressing drop in 2018, the Fortune 500 has more female CEOs than ever before!


According to the Fortune article:

“We are seeing women and minorities on boards ticking up, and boards have a lot to do with who becomes CEOs,” says Lorraine Hariton, CEO of Catalyst, a nonprofit consulting and research firm focused on women in the workplace. Fifteen years ago, women accounted for 15.7% of board seats in the Fortune500. Now, it’s 25.5%. The increase has come as institutional investors—citing research on the business benefits of diverse leadership—have pushed for new blood in boardrooms.

That increase in board representation is certainly worth calling out:


Despite how far we still have to go (e.g. over three-dozen companies still have only one or zero women in their boardrooms), it's refreshing to see positive change. 


A few data points I found interesting:

  • There have only been 78 women in Fortune 500 CEO roles in TOTAL.

  • Among Fortune 500 companies, women have succeeded other women as CEO on only three occasions.

    • Ursula Burns succeeded Anne Mulcahy as CEO of Xerox, serving from 2009–2017.

    • Sheri McCoy succeeded Andrea Jung as CEO of Avon Products, serving from 2012–2017.

    • Debra Crew succeeded Susan Cameron as CEO of Reynolds American, serving one year until December 2017.

  • Beth Ford, CEO of Land O’Lakes since August 1, 2018, is the first openly gay woman to serve as CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

  • Bed Bath & Beyond’s Mary Winston is the second black woman ever to serve as a Fortune 500 CEO (she’s in an interim post).

Sources: Catalyst

Let's hope that the rest of 2019 continues to take us in the right direction. I'll certainly be watching closely.



Dutch photographer Hellen van Meene’s photograph of the 16-year-old appears on the cover of the May 27 edition of TIME, and was taken near the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm during one of Thunberg’s school strikes in late April. She began her weekly strikes from school last year, protesting outside the Swedish parliament to raise awareness about climate change; the strikes have since spread to more than 130 countries worldwide. Thunberg was named to the TIME 100 list of the world’s most influential people in April and is now one of TIME’s Next Generation Leaders. 

Learn more about Greta Thunberg ⟶


 11 Powerhouse Woman CEOs Just Penned a Full-Page Letter Declaring ‘Abortion Is A Human Right’. In response to the recent regressive abortion laws being passed in Georgia and Alabama, 11 women from major brands like THINX, Cora, Fur, LOOM, Dame, Sustain Natural and Clary Collection put out a full page letter in the New York Times, stating that “As women and business leaders, we support the right to choose today and everyday”. They are also urging other business leaders to take a strong stance on the issue and stand up for women’s rights. // INC.

Nike To Change Pregnancy Policy In Athlete Contracts. After complaints from Olympian athlete Alysia Montaño that Nike had ended her campaign with them when she became pregnant, Nike has added parts in its new contracts with athletes that protect their pay during pregnancies. Formerly, Nike held the right to reduce pay if athletes failed to meet performance goals for any reason, including pregnancy or childbirth. // WSJ

We Froze The Salaries of 20 Executives- And It Improved the Lives of 500 Employees. This article is written by the CEO of a healthcare services company called CareCentrix. He talks about how when his business was facing troubles and high turnover rate in its lowest paid employees, he and his team decided to stop raising the executive wages with an annual inflation adjustment, and instead used that money to raise their minimum wage to $15.00. Driscoll reports that their business has tripled over the past 5 years since they had made this change, and their minimum wage is almost at $16.50 an hour. // THE GUARDIAN

Christopher Smith for The New York Times

Christopher Smith for The New York Times


Time's Up: McDonald's Faces 25 New Sexual Harassment Charges. The Civil Liberties Union announced that 25 McDonald's employees have filed sexual harassment claims against the company. Their ages range from 16 and up, and the allegations include claims of groping, indecent exposure, and propositions for sex. // NBC NEWS 

Google Launches Scheme With Stella McCartney To Help Reduce Fashion’s Environmental Footprint. Google and fashion designer Stella McCartney, who has spearheaded the use of organic cotton, reusable fabrics, and sustainability within the high-end fashion industry, have created a scheme together to improve sustainability in the fashion industry. At a fashion summit in Copenhagen, they announced that they will be building a Google Cloud data analytics and machine learning service that will help brands get a better, more comprehensive view into their supply chain so that they can estimate environmental impacts within their supply chain, and manage it better overall. // INDEPENDENT

Hot Job Market Is Wooing Women Into Workforce Faster Than Men. This article talks about a woman named Gaby Gemetti, who recently rejoined the workforce after caring for her children for a few years, upon finding that the job market was ripe with opportunity, especially in the technology sector. The article then goes on to say that Gaby is like many other women, as women in their working prime have been entering or re-entering the workforce at double the rate of men. The article goes on to discuss why the uptick is happening, and what challenges the women workforce might be up against. // NPR

These Are Best Paying Jobs For Those Concerned About The Environment. This article reports that most jobs related to environmental protection in the United States, like environmental engineers, hydrologists, and conservation scientist, typically earn more than the US median of $38,640. It also provides a list of many different environmental protection jobs and their median pay, so you can browse for a new career. // QUARTZ


This week's headlines were curated by ABL's intern, Lora.


“For too long, corporate America has been largely silent on speaking up for sexual and reproductive health and rights. That must change. Today, we loudly and boldly declare that we will not be silent in defense of fundamental human rightsand we challenge our peers in the business community to do the same. Now is the time to speak up.”

11 Powerhouse Woman CEOs in the New York Times

Nikita T. Mitchell