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Record number of women head Fortune 500 companies

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Summary of story from greenbaypressgazette, October 29, 2011

In 2012, 18 women will head Fortune 500 companies.

The appointments of Heather Bresch and Virginia “Ginni” Rometty, as CEOs of Mylan and IBM respectively, bring the number of female Fortune 500 leaders to its highest ever level.

Cynthia Good, CEO of women’s business newsletter Little Pink Book, said:

“It sends the message of ‘yes, women can do this.’ Women need to see other women in key roles.”

But she also said the numbers were too low.

The posts only equate to three per cent of Fortune 500 leaders.

The figure is slightly higher (3.2 per cent) in publicly traded companies, which have appointed 98 female CEOs in 3,049 firms.

The gender gap in the workplace remains large, with women struggling to find mentors and receive equal pay.

Good says one reason is women’s reticence. Men tend to tout their accomplishments more than women.

Quinetta Roberson, management professor at Villanova School of Business, says that the history of predominantly male leaders has led to a default masculine management style.

Workers who follow an “aggressive, unattached and direct” approach are often favoured for promotion.

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