Back to News

A Disturbing List! Where Are The Women On Fortune’s 40 Under 40?

Men: 40, Women: 6.


Because they show “ties” for several of the top 40 listings, there are actually 46 people on Fortune’s 40 Under 40, an annual list of business movers and shakers.  13% Women.  You have to get to #20 (#21 really) to see the first woman.  How very sad.  Fortune has been accused of tilting the list for business and political reasons, but even if they didn’t do that, in 2011, if a premier business magazine can dare to publish a list like this with only 6 women, it says many awful things.

Let’s give Fortune the benefit of the doubt, and say they were honest in their subjective choices.  This almost makes things worse!  If they really could not find more than 6 women out of the top 46 people in the country who are propelling business forward with innovation and leadership, then clearly women don’t have equal opportunity.  There is a glass ceiling.  We know that women have the talent, intelligence, drive and education.  Stats show that there are now more women college students, graduates, graduate students, etc. (than men in each case).  Women are excelling in all fields, but still not being given the money, power or authority in far too many cases.

I recruit executives in Aerospace and Defense, and when we source a candidate pool, we see far too few women in positions of authority and leadership, even though our clients would love to be more diverse in their executive teams.

I’m getting too old to see a list like this.  I thought society fixed this about 45 years ago, when women’s rights advocates finally got a fair hearing, in the industrialized world at least.

We read about the severe oppression of women in underdeveloped countries all the time, and of course that saddens all of us.  To console ourselves, we at least hope to be able to say “That doesn’t happen HERE.”  But this list makes me wonder.

I hope Gen X and Gen Y get this fixed soon!

A few others have written about this, so check out Paddy Hirsch’s article on Public Radio Marketplace, and
Cathy Kuprino in Forbes.