Just 13 women lead world's 500 biggest companies. And no women of colour

Just 13 women lead world’s 500 biggest companies. And no women of colour


For the first time in six years, no women of colour CEOs are on this year’s Global 500 list. The list calculates the world’s largest 500 companies by revenue.

This year’s companies employ a total of 69.9 million people worldwide across 32 countries. Out of the 500 companies that made the cut, just 13 companies have female CEOs — with eight of those based in the United States.

These 13 women lead just 2.6% of Global 500 businesses. Last year, there were 14 women on the list. And two companies were led by women of colour, including Flex, the manufacturing and supply chain logistics company, and Pertamina, the Indonesian state-owned oil and gas company, which were run by Revathi Advaithi and Nicke Widyawati respectively.

Fortune began examining the Global 500 CEOs in 2014. In the last six years, there has always been at least one women of colour in the CEO list.

In another dire result, this year’s Fortune 500 (which lists companies that are US-based only) included no Black women running Fortune 500 businesses.

But it’s this year’s Global 500 list which is a huge blow for diversity because the Global 500 represents companies in every country around the world.

The highest ranking company on this year’s Global 500 lead by a woman was taken out by GM’s Mary Barra, who came in at Number 40, leading a company with a total revenue of over $135 million.

Of the 13 women CEOs who made it onto the list, 8 are US companies, including Gail Boudreaux, who heads Anthem, a health insurance company, Carol Tomé, CEO of United Parcel Services, and Safra Catz, CEO of Oracle, a computer software company.

Other female-run businesses on the list come from the UK, France, Germany and Ireland. UK-based companies include insurance company Aviva, who is run by Amanda Blanc, and British pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline, who is leading the country  through the coronavirus vaccine race, lead by Emma Walmsley.

Ireland’s highest rank out of its four companies on the list was Accenture, headed by Julie Sweet, which came in at Number 279 on the list with a total revenue of over $43 million. 
These latest results from the Global 500 are rather depressing, after the almost high we got from the news back in May that there’d been a record number of female CEOs in the Fortune 500 list. There were 37. Still a small number compared to men, and out of those 37, only 3 were women of colour.

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