There’s been a massive push to increase diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
However, it appears corporate America still has a ways to go, particularly when it comes to diverse representation in corporate leadership roles. In 2021, only 8.2% of Fortune 500 CEOs were female. Of those females, 85% of them were white.
This graphic by Zainab Ayodimeji highlights the current state of diversity in corporate America, reminding us that there are still significant gender and racial gaps.
Five Decades of Fortune 500 CEOs
Since 1955, Fortune Magazine has released its annual Fortune 500 list that ranks the 500 largest U.S. companies, ranked by total revenue earned each fiscal year.
For the first 17 years of its publication, there were no female CEOs on the Fortune 500. Then in 1972, Katharine Graham became CEO of the Washington Post, making her the first-ever female CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
Following Graham, a few other women joined the ranks, such as Marion Sandler, co-CEO of Golden West Financial Corporation, and Linda Wachner, CEO of Warnaco Group. But apart from those few outliers, Fortune 500 CEOs remained almost exclusively male for the next few decades.
At the turn of the millennium, things started to change. Women-led companies started to appear more frequently on the Fortune 500. Here’s a breakdown that shows the number of women CEOs on the list, from 1999 to 2021:
|Year||Fortune 500 # of Women CEOs||% of Total|