The following is a guest post from Lisa Shoreland.
Women comprise roughly half the working population, yet their numbers in corporate management are shockingly low. Last year, there were 18 women CEOs at Fortune 500 companies — or about 3 percent of men CEOs.
The encouraging part is that the number is growing. (There were only 12 in 2009.) As more women take over positions of power, there will be more role models for young girls, who can grow up with the knowledge that such roles are possibilities for them.
Here are 5 women CEOs that help provide positive role models for young girls (and women everywhere):
Carol Ann Bartz
The CEO of Yahoo! has also served as the chairman, president, and CEO at Autodesk, the world’s largest producer of design software.
Bartz was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after joining Autodesk. She took a month off to recover from surgery, then returned to work while undergoing chemo and was credited with increasing revenue at the company substantially during that time.
Indra K. Nooyi
The chairman and CEO of Pepsico has held multiple senior positions in the company and is considered to be the person chiefly responsible for PepsiCo’s multi-year growth strategy, Performance with Purpose. She is also credited with spearheading Pepsi Refresh, a social-media campaign that will give $20 million in grants and goods to social causes.
The chairman and CEO of Kraft Foods is one of the top paid women CEOs. Before coming to Kraft, she was the CEO of Frito-Lay for two years.
The Wall Street Journal named her one of the “50 Women to Watch” in 2008, and Forbes put her on its Top 10 Most Powerful Women list in 2010 and 2011.
Ursula M. Burns
Burns worked her way to the top, rising from a mechanical engineering intern at Xerox to becoming CEo of the company in less than 20 years. She is credited for rescuing the company from filing bankruptcy in 2001, and she is the first African-American women to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
Lynn L. Elsenhans
Elsenhans is the first and only woman to be on the Fortune 500 list for leading an energy company. The chairman, president, and CEO of Sunoco Inc. — one of the largest independent U.S.-based oil and gas companies — is credited for helping increase profits substantially at the company. She stepped down as CEO this year.
Do these ladies inspire you?
The stories of these women help pave the way for young girls. They show girls and women everywhere that there is no limit to what they can do. These women worked hard and became the leaders in their fields — something that all women can do. If these women rocked your world, leave us a comment and tell us what you think!
Lisa Shoreland is currently a resident blogger at GoCollege.com, where recently she’s been researching student grants and cosmetology scholarships. In her spare time, she enjoys creative writing and hogging her boyfriend’s PlayStation 3. To keep her sanity she enjoys practicing martial arts and bringing home abandon animals.