Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Three Milestones for Women on this Year’s Fortune500

The 65th Fortune500 has recently been published, including companies that represent two-thirds of the US GDP with $13.7 trillion in revenues, $1.1 trillion in profits, $22.6 trillion in market value, and employ 28.7 million people worldwide. The list also includes four records for women.  

Karen Lynch, CEO of CVS Health, is making history as head of the highest-ranked Fortune500 company ever led by a woman, as the $268 billion health-care company ranks No. 4 on this year’s list. Additionally, Jane Fraser, CEO of Citi, is breaking the glass ceiling as the first female CEO of a major Wall Street bank. 

A record number of 41 women (37 in 2020) are leading Fortune500 companies, which for the first time includes two black women as CEOs. The two are Roz Brewer, CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance a retail and wholesale pharmacy and Thasunda Brown Duckett, CEO of TIAA a provider of financial services.  

The total number of increased almost every year for since 2000, with exceptions of 2003, 2010 and 2015 where the number stayed the same and in 2016 and 2018 the total number decreased. Even though the numbers have never been higher, female CEOs still only account for 8,1 % in total.  

41 female CEOs leading Fortune500 companies is a milestone, but with 459 men leading the rest, we still have very large room for improvements, however, the abovementioned women all four took over form male CEOs. One more thing they have in common, is that they all got appointed in 2021. Karen Lynch and Jane Fraser in February, Roz Brewer in March, and Thasunda Brown Duckett in May. One could be questioning the timing of the appointments, as they were just before this year’s Fortune500.