Female CEOs are rare. Two in a row at the same company is (almost) unheard of


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The number of female Fortune 500 CEOs is shrinking

It is uncommon that we get a feminine CEO.

But it surely’s even rarer to see one other lady observe her into the C-suite.

Within the historical past of the Fortune 500, a female-to-female CEO succession has solely occurred 3 times: in 2009, when Ursula Burns adopted Anne Mulcahy at Xerox; in 2011, when Sheri McCoy took over Avon Merchandise from Andrea Jung; and in 2017, when Debra Crew grew to become CEO at Reynolds American, taking up from Susan Cameron.

So why is it so uncommon to see a lady promoted to the position after one other feminine CEO’s departure?

A part of this, says Christy Glass, professor of sociology at Utah State College, could be blamed on the excessive visibility — and accompanying scrutiny — that follows ladies into the C-suite.

Beneath stress

Along with balancing so many alternative expectations and battling workers’ prejudices, some feminine leaders worry selling ladies behind them might be seen as “bias” or “having a feminist agenda,” in keeping with Glass.

“These ladies are extraordinarily conscious of the scrutiny they face,” Glass says. “To the extent that they develop into robust advocates for girls, they face potential bias that they are not as dedicated to the group general and that as a substitute they’ve this fairness agenda. I feel it is problematic.”

Analysis additionally exhibits that when a lady or minority CEO takes management of an organization, white male managers may very well withhold their help from feminine workers, basically weakening the pipeline of various expertise that would at some point take over.

“They face this perfection commonplace,” Glass says. “They need to be flawless due to the extent of scrutiny, and any errors should not solely blamed on them, however generally blamed on ladies usually … I feel it is actually tough for these high-profile ladies to essentially be vocal advocates of different ladies. I feel they’re in a double bind.”

women CEO succession

Asking the flawed query

Individuals are approaching this drawback from the flawed angle, says Heather Foust-Cummings, senior vp of analysis at Catalyst, a non-profit finding out ladies and work.

“I feel it is a much more compelling query — and it will get extra to the foundation of what I feel the true drawback is — if we ask ‘Why is it that males should not creating succession planning and inserting ladies within the CEO seat?'” she says.

And in lots of corporations, feminine CEOs aren’t even those getting ready succession plans. As an alternative, that work falls to the board of administrators — lots of which battle with their very own lack of variety.

“One factor we heard from a whole lot of our respondents is that board variety actually issues,” Glass says. “It mattered for his or her promotion and it mattered for fairness general.”

In anticipating feminine CEOs to be the one ones who faucet ladies, Foust-Cummings says, we’re solely perpetuating the stereotypes feminine CEOs already battle.

“It is actually tough when a lady CEO is being held to all these requirements that the boys are held to, after which, on prime of that, basically we’re asking them to be chargeable for carrying a complete gender with them,” she says. “They’re those who’re supposed to advertise and develop and have ladies succeed them — however we’re not asking the identical of males.”

CNNMoney (New York) First revealed August 16, 2018: 11:45 AM ET

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