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Fewer Female CEOs on Forbes 500 List

By Molly Zilli, Esq. on May 24, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

We generally think of the progress of women in the workplace as being on an upward trajectory. There are laws against gender and pregnancy discrimination in employment, and companies are under pressure to deal with their sexual harassment problems, especially in light of the current #MeToo movement. 

Along these lines, many women also occupy leadership roles within powerful companies. However, according to the latest Fortune 500 list, the number of female CEOs has actually declined from last year.

Resignations and New Hires

Last year saw the highest percentage of female Fortune 500 CEOs in the list's history. That year, 32 of the 500 companies were led by women. This year, that number is down to just 24. According to Fortune, the most significant reason for the drop is that more than one third of the Fortune 500 female CEOs resigned over the course of the last year.

For example, Hewlett Packard's Meg Whitman and Campbell Soup's Denise Morrison both announced they would be leaving their posts. In total, 12 female CEOs left their CEO jobs, while only four new female CEOs joined the Fortune 500 ranks.

Gender Pay Gap

In addition to the dip in female representation at the executive level, the Wall Street Journal reports that women CEOs still get paid much less than their male counterparts. For example, the highest paid male CEO, Broadcom's Hock Tan, made $103.2 million in 2017. Conversely, Mattel's Margaret Georgiadis, the highest paid female CEO, made only $31.3 million.

It might feel hard to relate to the pay gap at this level. After all, who can complain about making $31.3 million a year? However, discrimination happens at all levels of employment, and there are many laws designed to protect you as a worker. If you think you've been discriminated against or treated unfairly, contact an attorney who can help assess the strength of your case.

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