Note : Despite the fact that women have made many accomplishments over the past century, they aren’t being paid quite as much as their male counter parts. But should this discourage women from entering the field of business management? It shouldn’t. I believe that the glass ceiling is a matter of perception. If you’re in charge or are in a high level position of a multi million or BILLION dollar company, are you REALLY going to be worried about not making enough money?
More women are breaking through the glass ceiling to become CEOs in Fortune 500 companies. There are 15 women CEOs in Fortune 500 companies this year, up from 12 the previous year. Here are the women who hold top honors in some of the United States’ most lucrative companies.
Barnes has been the chairman and CEO of Sara Lee since 2005, a company that ranks 199 in the top 500. Sara Lee earns more than two-thirds of its profits outside the United States. Barnes strategy in the coming years is to use coupons, in-store coupons, and economical brands to win over more customers.
Carol A. Bartz
Bartz is the CEO of Yahoo, a company that ranks 345 in the top 500. Her goal is to strengthen Yahoo’s global presence by focusing on content and information. She’s also open to creating partnerships with social networking sites to help overcome a decline in profits.
Angela F. Braly
Braly is the president and CEO of WellPoint, number 32 in company rank. Braly thinks that WellPoint could benefit from government programs, and is open to creating mutual partnerships with the federal government and health insurers.
Lynn L. Elsenhans
Elsenhans is president, chairman, and CEO of 41 ranking Sunoco. Her focus is on creating sustainable sources of energy. She’s also in support of increasing the federal gasoline tax and is calling for climate change legislation.
Western Union ranks 451 in the Fortune 500, and Gold is the president and CEO of the company. Her task is no small one since Western Union touches more than 200 countries worldwide.
Ivey is the chairman, president, and CEO of Reynolds American, which has a Fortune 500 ranking of 294. With sales falling 2%, Ivey plans to shift the focus to smokeless and dissolvable tobacco products.
Chairman and CEO of Avon, Jung leads the company that ranks 255. Avon has more than 75% of its sales outside of the U.S. and has enlisted celebrities to promote Avon in advertising campaigns.
Ellen J. Kullman
Kullman is president and CEO of 75th ranking DuPont. Her position is notable because she is the first female CEO in DuPont’s history. Prior to her appointment, she was running four out of five of DuPont’s primary businesses.
As president and CEO of TJX, number 131 in the rankings, she is focused on promoting her company’s products to budget-conscious consumers. She is simultaneously cutting costs while expanding A.J. Wright stores and Marshalls Shoe MegaShop.
Mulcahy is the chairman and CEO of 147th ranked Xerox. Her most notable achievement has been preventing Xerox from filing bankruptcy. She has been at Xerox for more than 30 years and has been running the company since 2001.
Indra K. Nooyi
Nooyi is chairman and CEO of Pepsico, a company that ranks 52 in the Fortune 500. Nooyi has not only increased profits for the company but has also targeted a more health-conscious market by introducing new products.
Kraft Foods ranks 53rd, and Rosenfeld is its chairman and CEO. Under Rosenfeld’s leadership, Kraft increased revenue. Notably, she is the only woman to lead a company in the Dow 30.
Sammons is the chairman and CEO of Rite Aid, which ranks at 100. She hopes that Rite Aid’s national prescription savings card, which has already increased Rite Aid’s customer base, will continue to increase company profits in the coming year.
Sen is president and CEO of BJ’s Wholesale Club, a company that ranks at 269. Sen’s most notable success is that she has been able to increase profits. Her strategy is to attract more customers to her company who normally shop at traditional grocery store chains.
Woertz is president, chairman, and CEO of Archer Daniels Midland. This company produces oil-based ethanol and ranks 27 in the Fortune 500. Woertz’s 30 years experience working in the oil industry made her an ideal candidate for a leadership position. She is committed to company growth by investing in and acquiring new companies.
The accomplishments of these women are, by and far, admirable, particularly in a male-dominated business milieu. However, the realities of their leadership abilities are not always matched by the perceptions that others have of women overall in a leadership capacity.
Although women are inching their way past the corporate glass ceiling, men still outrank them in overall compensation. According to a 2008 CEO pay survey by the Corporate Library, a sampling of 3,242 North American companies revealed that women earned more money than men in base pay but still lagged behind in stock compensation, bonuses, and other perks. The median salary of women CEOs was $1.7 million.
Even more surprising is how women are perceived by their peers, subordinates, and supervisors, even as they gain leadership in top companies. According to the January 2009 Harvard Business Review, although women are perceived as equals in emotional intelligence and tenacity alongside men, some still perceive female leaders as lacking vision.
Apparently, the glass ceiling is still creating barriers when it comes to how women are perceived as top leaders in companies, regardless of their overall performances.