A recent article in The Atlantic called it "a sign of a good trajectory" that the number of female CEOs in the Standard and Poor 500 had risen from 18 in to 2009 to 27 by the end of 2016.

While those numbers are small, they represent a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of about 6% a year. If that rate holds true, the number of female CEOs of the S&P 500 will reach 46 by 2026, 82 by 2037, 146 by 2047 and finally top 250 in 2056.

That's well within the lifetime of women entering the workplace today. Women today can therefore look forward to a gradual growth of corporate power. Or maybe not.

Another way to look at the "good" trajectory is as linear growth, like sand through an hourglass. Seen that way, the S&P 500 adds an average of 5 female CEOs every 4 years.

If that holds true, the S&P 500 will remain dominated by male CEOs until (wait for it) the year 2196, when our great-great-great-great-great-great-granddaughters will be entering the workplace.

Those female executives will essentially have the same relationship to women in the workforce today that today's women have with the likes of Betsy Ross and Abigail Adams. Sad.

What's ironic about the wait (regardless of whether it's decades or centuries) is that it's a statistical fact that big companies headed by women, on average, outperform those run by men.

In fact, there's a wealth of evidence that women (when compared to men) are more competent managers, take fewer dumb risks, are better at teamwork, and are, on average, smarter than their male counterparts in business.

So, the real question is: when it comes to having female CEOs in the S&P 500, why are we talking about 2056 as a best-case scenario? No, scratch that. The REAL question is: why are today's male-dominated Boards of Directors so incredibly shortsighted?

Published on: Apr 6, 2017
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