An advertisement from IBM says math is the only language spoken around the world. So let’s do some math. The math says, 485 out of 500 is 97 percent. Fifteen out of 500 is three percent. Half of 500 is 250. Now go figure this: Approximately half of all births are women, meaning that for every 500 births there are 250 women, give or take a small standard deviation. Yet, decades after the women’s movement took hold, only three percent of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are women – just 15. Not even close to 250.
And other than expressing shock we’ll skip the statistical analysis on this. Maybe it’s math phobia. It just seems there should be more women running our top corporations. One might be tempted to wonder about the state of the economy if more women were CEOs of the top 500. But that would be a loaded question and likely to generate all manner of debate. Not everyone is up to such arguing.
One of the 15 is Laura Sen, CEO of BJs Wholesale Club based in Massachusetts – number 269 on the latest Fortune 500 list. The company is much like the usual wholesale membership based club except that its focus is on the consumer rather than on business needs. She claims that the merchandise comes in smaller sizes and there are more varieties of say, cereal than at the competition.
Lest anyone is ready to think that she’s all about the shopping, she sees her life as rather “unglamorous.” We love that she is so understated. She doesn’t wear suits but does have a penchant for those Hermes scarves to change up the basic black outfits. She’s been known to skip the cab on business trips, opting instead for public transportation – trains in Europe. She has a preference for Hampton Inns but no word on whether she has a Hamptons house. And really wouldn’t it be fine with us all if she had a Jimmy Choo or two in her shoe closet? Still, three percent is a shockingly small number.