Bad news about the fight for workplace equality. Only 15 of this year’s Fortune 500 companies have woman CEOs – the same percentage as last year. Robin Marty of Care2 points out that most of the companies women lead are “women focused” companies – your food and cosmetic businesses. But Marty also points out that there are a few positive points about this year’s list. Xerox replaced one woman CEO with another – a first for the Fortune 500 companies. And almost half of the companies with female CEOs are in the top 100.
Marty also questions what’s keeping women from succeeding to the extent that men do in business, especially since now, two women earn a business degree for every man who does. And women are steadily reaching positions of power in other sectors, including government. The answer lies in the fact that men determine who gets those CEO jobs. They occupy other high-ranking executive positions and serve on boards of directors. Marty concludes that as women continue to climb the business ladder, they will occupy more high-ranking positions, and in turn, there will be more female CEOs.
But there are other problems. According to CNN, employees of Wal-Mart are filing the biggest class-action employment suit in U.S. history, claiming that the retail giant paid women employees less than male employees, and offered women fewer chances for promotion. Employees also claim that women make up 70% percent of Wal-Mart’s hourly staff, but occupy less than one-third of the management positions.
We don’t know about you, but this just makes us more fired up to get those high-ranking positions. When imagining the board of directors that deems women unfit for CEO jobs, it’s hard to avoid the image of a lodge meeting, complete with men in thick black-rimmed glasses (the unhip kind) wondering who would cook their dinners if they started letting women into their secret club.