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October 2018

Number Of Woman CEOs Down By 25%

Number Of Woman CEOs Down By 25%

After a spike in women CEOs in 2017, numbers are dropping again. In 2018, the number of women CEOs dropped from 32 to 24. While most left under different circumstances from one another, with some retiring, being replaced, or taking jobs elsewhere, the decrease still shows that there is much work to be done to promote gender equality within the workplace.

The Concerning Numbers

While there have been some years of fluctuation, the percentage of woman chief executives has been consistently on the rise for the past decade. The percentage of woman CEOs in Fortune 500 companies topped 5% for the first time in Q1 2017, with 27 women heading major firms. However, that number has since decreased, with 2018 showing a marked drop. Of the twelve CEOs that left their positions, four retired, four left after their companies were acquired, two took new jobs, and two were replaced. In each case where a replacement was found, either for short or long term, the chief executive that replaced them was a man.

The Glass Ceilings and Cliffs

Many popular misconceptions regarding the struggles women face in the workplace focus on competitiveness and work-life balance, however, the true root of the problem goes far deeper than that. Women face issues with advancement in careers, even if hired at the same level as their male counterparts. Additionally, when women do reach the role of chief executive, they are far more likely to be placed in charge of already failing companies. Executive staffing agencies and human resources recruiters refer to this latter phenomena as the "glass cliff." These human resources recruiters and other experts on professional advancement theorize that the problem is the result of sexism, not just in the workplace, but society as a whole as well. Because so often caretaking and family issues are presented as "women's issues," women face more assumptions about their personal life impacting their ability to do their jobs. Overall, if gender equality in the workplace is to improve, gender equality in other fields and walks of life must improve as well. By changing the assumptions surrounding womanhood, women will have an increased chance of being treated equally when it comes to advancing in their professional lives.