Commentary

193 Women CEOs Out Of 1043 Replacements

According to Alessandra Malito, writing a summary of women’s positions in industry, women accounted for 18% of chief executive officer replacements in 2017, unchanged from the year before, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas. And the rate of women replacement CEOs is up from 15.3% in 2015. Just 193 women CEOs accounted for 1,043 recorded replacements.

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CEOs (all men) at 11 companies stepped down because of sexual misconduct allegations last year, says the report. And, of the seven companies that named a replacement, four chose women. Women currently hold just 27 (5.4%) of CEO positions at those S&P 500 companies, according to Catalyst.

Ariane Hegewisch, program director of employment and earnings at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, says “Bad times tend to be better for women to be given a chance to be CEOs… When a company isn’t doing well and everyone shies away from it, companies think, “let’s give an outsider a chance.”  says Malito. Having more women leading companies is critical for fostering a culture of inclusiveness and safety, and also an atmosphere where other women can be promoted and receive equal pay for equal work, says the report.

Some industries are promoting more women into the C-suite, according to Challenger & Gray, in the report. The legal industry saw the highest rate of women replacements at CEO level, at 50%, followed by government and non-profit (42%) and education (33%). There were no women replacements in the automotive, chemical, commodities or telecommunications industries.

Corporate leaders still don’t see both genders as equal, says the report, and women CEOs are twice as likely to have come from outside a company than chosen internally, according to a Harvard Business Review report, looking at 2,000 top performing companies. Finding that 1.5%, or 29 of those CEOs were women.

The report says that, according to a third of respondents in a 2016 McKinsey & Company survey of 34,000 employees at 132 companies, females negotiating for a promotion are also labeled as bossy, aggressive or intimidating, Race is a factor too, with the rate of promotion for white women at 7.4%, 6% for Latinas, 5.8% for Asians and 4.9% for African-Americans, says the report.

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