Fortune Magazine came out with its issue naming the “2011 Businessperson of the Year,” as well as 49 runners-up. As one would expect, the 50 individuals featured by Fortune are extraordinary leaders who have attained exceptional results for their respective businesses. What’s remarkable about this list, however, is that only four of the 50 businesspeople are women.
Women comprise almost half of the workforce, yet they account for only 6% of corporate CEOs and top executive positions, as noted in the January 2011 report by David A. Matsa and Amalia Miller entitled “Chipping Away at the Glass Ceiling: Gender Spillovers in Corporate Leadership.” At law firms, barely 15% of equity partners are women – a level that has not improved over many years, according to an October 2011 survey by The National Association of Women Lawyers and The NAWL Foundation. Although women have made much progress toward achieving equality in the workplace, we still have a long way to go. We would be wise to continue to focus our energy on identifying and addressing gender disparities at the highest levels of corporate America.
Congratulations to Irene B. Rosenfeld, Christine M. Day, Carol Meyrowitz, and Angela Ahrendts on their selection to Fortune’s list – and on the achievements for which they were selected.