What women — and companies — can learn from Fortune's Most Powerful Women list
- Fortune just released its newest Most Powerful Women list, which includes top executives from companies such as General Motors, Mattel and Boeing. In interviews with 57 women CEOs from Fortune 1000 companies, Fortune found that 69% never set out to head up companies, while just 9% said they did.
- Fortune advises women who want to lead companies one day to focus on STEM studies, run P&L, and to "shake off" sexism. Women also need to learn how to self-market and how to say yes when the opportunity to lead comes along, the report says.
- Fortune says the recommendations were based on a forthcoming study from Korn Ferry and the Rockefeller Foundation.
Women have shown they have great leadership skills, but they still make up a relative fraction of the number of CEOs. This list focuses mainly on what women can do to find a future as leaders in any company, but companies have a responsibility to ensure their hiring and promotion processes aren't hiding any biases that limit women's opportunities.
Women face bias early on in their career and are often seen as less capable of leadership than men. But many implicit systems keep women out of leadership. Especially in male-dominated industries, women (especially women of color) tend to have fewer mentors and contacts willing to push them for promotion, leaving few pathways for women to reach the top. Employers can institute mentorship programs for all young employees to ensure skilled people of all backgrounds have a way to reach the C-Suite.
Organizations that recruit and hire women report a strong ROI. And where women have leadership roles, they often bring in other women, creating a talent pipeline from which organizations can attract a diverse array of people.
Follow Kathryn Moody on Twitter