Where are the Women CEOs? Should We Care?

For the first time ever, women CEOs now make up more than 10 percent of Fortune 500 leaders. But that’s hardly a reason to celebrate. On every indicator, white men still dominate the upper rungs of the economy, while women — particularly women of color — continue to be overrepresented in low-paying jobs.

And even when women do break through the glass ceiling, they’re still part of a system designed to enrich those at the top on the backs of those with the least economic and political power.

The 53 women CEOs in the Fortune 500 are still just a tiny fraction of an elite group that earned $18.3 million on average in 2021. By contrast, women make up 63.5 percent of workers earning the federal minimum wage, a rate stuck at $7.25 since 2009.

Men also dominate lucrative Wall Street jobs. We took a look at the demographics of the senior executive and management teams at the five largest U.S. investment banks. The percentage who are men at JPMorgan Chase: 71 percent, Goldman Sachs: 77 percent, Bank of America: 63 percent, Morgan Stanley: 76 percent, and Citigroup: 62 percent.

On the low end of the income scale, men make up a very small share of the care workers who provide essential services and yet earn some of the country’s lowest salaries. Men make up just 5.7 percent of childcare workers, an occupation that pays $26,680 per year, on average, and only 13 percent of home health aides, who average $29,260 per year.

These gender gaps mirror racial gaps. For instance, Black workers hold just 6.4 percent of lucrative securities industry jobs but 32.5 percent of home health and 29.5 percent of nursing home jobs.

Sarah Anderson directs the Global Economy Project and co-edits Inequality.org at the Institute for Policy Studies. Jasmine Corazon is an IPS Next Leader.