The number of female executives in charge of top global performing companies rose this year, reflecting the growing importance of governance to investors and the general public.
Fortune compiles a yearly list of the 500 largest companies in the world, whose combined sales equated to $31.7 trillion, roughly one-third of the global GDP. This year, nine new women are now running companies, reflecting the highest percentage of female-led companies that Fortune has recorded since initially creating the list.
Women now run 23 of the top 500 companies, and while most companies still remain overwhelmingly male, the diversity is growing. In 2020, there was one singular woman of color as CEO; this year there are six. While women still remain a small percentage of total CEOs, the gender gap is bound to continue shifting as companies come under increasing pressure by investors and regulators to diversify their boards.
Notable new positions by women include Karen Lynch taking over CVS Health, ranked at number seven on the Global 500 list. Jane Fraser stepped into the CEO role at Citigroup, becoming the first woman to lead a major Wall Street bank. Former Walmart and Starbucks executive Roz Brewer took over Walgreens Boots Alliance.
Companies that carried over female leadership from the year prior include UPS, GM, Progressive, Oracle, General Dynamics, Best Buy, and Anthem, to name a few.
‘SHE’ Invests in a Female Future
State Street Global Investors recognizes the importance of investing in a future that is more female by supporting the companies that are practicing gender equity today. The SPDR SSGA Gender Diversity Index ETF (SHE ) offers data-driven exposure to companies with the highest diversity amongst leadership positions within their industries.
SHE follows the SSGA Gender Diversity Index, an index that tracks large cap U.S. companies exhibiting gender diversity within their senior leadership.
The benchmark pulls from the top 1,000 U.S. stocks by market capitalization, utilizing three different gender diversity screens to narrow down its selection universe.
These metrics include the ratio of female executives and female board of director members to all executives and all board of director members; the ratio of female executives versus all executives; and the ratio of female executives (excluding those on the board of directors) compared to the number of executives in total (again, excluding board members).
For the purposes of the index, “executives” are defined as any Vice President position in a company and higher, or any Managing Director position and above in a financial sector company.
According to their free-float market cap, the top-ranking 10% of companies within each sector are selected and weighted proportionally. Each stock has a maximum weight cap of 5%.
The top three sectors in SHE include information technology (32.04% of its portfolio); healthcare (12.68%); and consumer discretionary (12.66%).
SHE carries an expense ratio of 0.20%.
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