Female CEOs. Where Are They?

Our mentor, investor and friend, Kevin O’Leary loves female CEOs. He says they make him lots of money.

I don’t doubt that. I’ve never understood why men and women were always judged based on sex rather than on achievements. Thankfully that trend is changing. Long gone are the days of command and control types of leadership. Collaboration and team work are the new model. And as a woman, I couldn’t be happier. No more pant suits and short haircuts!

As a woman CEO myself, I have to agree with the musings of other reporters who have written about this subject.

First, women are just better listeners. We have to be. Especially if they are moms. Negotiating, refereeing and imparting their wisdom when necessary has been a woman’s job since the beginning of time. King Solomon ain’t got nothin’ on any Mom.

Second, women naturally nurture and inspire.  This is a critical trait to possess when working with younger employees eager to make their mark. Women are wonderful at developing a mind as well as the fine art of relationship building. Both key elements to a happy and healthy work environment.

Women tend to do twice as much to be noticed half as much. There’s no room for mistakes here. Women are more detail oriented and willing to put in the extra hours in order to get the job done.

But the facts are the facts and there are still not enough women in the C level ranks even today.

According to Fortune Magazine, there are 24 women CEOs in the Fortune 500 and 27 in the Fortune 1000.

This is fairly abysmal.  But why is this the case? Are companies till afraid to take a chance on a woman? Even in this day and age?

Or do women simply feel unworthy? I know for me, the fact that I didn’t graduate college, never mind get my MBA was something that held me back for many, many years. How stupid. The same article by Caroline Fairchild notes the following;

39% of Women CEOs in the Fortune 1000 have MBAs

39% of Women CEOs in the Fortune 1000 have MBAs

Encouraging!  But it doesn’t answer the question as to why there are still so few.

80% of women CEOs in Fortune 1,000 companies have families and children. So that can’t be it.

Maybe we’re just lacking in role models. The number of women CEOS who could act as a role model simply isn’t there.

This past year I made the conscious effort to mentor. I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to take part in Babson College’s WIN lab, MBA mentoring program.  I’m so glad I did. I was blown away by the quality and ambition not only of “my” mentee but of all the other young women participating in this highly sought after program. There were women from all walks of life participating. It was truly inspiring.

Selfishly, it was really great for me as well. I learned that a women without an MBA, who has started a successful business can be as motivating and inspirational as a woman who has graduated from Harvard Business School. I gained a lot of insight about myself and what people really need in order to take their passions to the next level.

Here’s a link to Babson’s program.  http://www.babson.edu/Academics/centers/cwel/educational-programs/win-lab/Pages/home.aspx

I’m ending this post with no real answer to my question. But I do feel hopeful as the next few years pass, we’ll see a growing trend of female CEOs hitting the business scene.

Until then, I’ll continue to do my part to help motivate, mentor and encourage our young women as they make their way up the corporate ladder.

I ask all of you to do the same. It’s just as easy to encourage as it is to discourage. Young women need more positive role models.  Our daughters’ futures depend on this.

T ~