No Change for Women in Top Leadership at Fortune 500 Companies

According to the 2012 Catalyst Census: Fortune 500 Women Board Directors and 2012 Catalyst Census: Fortune 500 Executive Officers and Top Earners, little changed for women in top leadership positions at Fortune 500 companies this year.

Each year, Catalyst tracks data to learn about the advancements women are making (or not making) in leadership. Specifically, the study tracks the following:

  • Women’s share of all board seats and of positions of board leadership.
  • The representation of women of color directors.
  • Companies with 0%, 25% or more, and 40% or more women directors.
  • Companies with zero to three or more women of color directors.

Key findings from the 2012 studies reveal the following:

  • Women’s share of Board Director and Executive Officer positions increased by only half a percentage point or less during the past year.
  • Women held only 16.6% of board seats in 2012, marking the seventh consecutive year of no growth.
  • Women held 14.3% of Executive Officer positions—flat-lined for the third straight year.
  • Women of color held only 3.3% of board seats, indicating no growth.
  • More than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies had no women of color board directors for the fifth consecutive year.
  • Women held only 8.1% of top earner slots.

The graph below shows just how little things have changed for women at top leadership in Fortune 500 companies:

You can get all of the details from the study here: 2012 Catalyst Census: Fortune 500.

Susan Gunelius

Susan Gunelius is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Women on Business. She is a 20-year veteran of the marketing field and has authored ten books about marketing, branding, and social media, including the highly popular 30-Minute Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing for Dummies, Blogging All-in-One for Dummies and Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps. Susan’s marketing-related content can be found on,,,, and more. Susan is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She has worked in corporate marketing roles and through client relationships with AT&T, HSBC, Citibank, Intuit, The New York Times, Cox Communications, and many more large and small companies around the world. Susan also speaks about marketing, branding and social media at events around the world and is frequently interviewed by television, online, radio, and print media organizations about these topics. She holds an MBA in Management and Strategy and a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing.

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