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From IBM to General Motors, the number of female chief executives is on the rise. About 8% of Fortune 500 companies are led by women executives. This might still seem like a dismal number, but this is a huge improvement considering that in 1973, there was only one woman CEO.
More and more companies are being founded and led by women. From CEOs to entrepreneurs, it’s undeniable that women are continuously breaking the glass ceiling.
The Story of Katharine Graham
To understand the rise of women in the business world, it’s important to know the story of Katharine Graham – the first female CEO of a Fortune 500 company. With minimal business and journalism experience, she took The Washington Post to the top. She started running the business when her husband died.
Like many women business leaders, Graham has been intimidated. Nonetheless, she worked hard and for three decades, she built a media conglomerate that is now popular all over the world. From being a self-proclaimed doormat wife, she worked her way into becoming one of the most respected icons in the journalism industry.
Factors Behind Women in Businesses
Why is it that we’re seeing more women in leadership positions these days? Being woman-owned, led, and operated has almost become a bragging right in recent years. It is a badge of honor, and for some companies, a key message in their marketing campaigns.
Opportunity and necessity are two of the most influential factors behind the presence of more women in leadership positions. It’s easier for almost anyone to launch a business these days, especially because of technology and the internet.
This opens more doors for women to kickstart their entrepreneurial journeys. In some cases, it has also been a necessity as many businesses are feeling the pressure of promoting diversity and inclusivity to improve public perception. Not to mention, there has also been a growth in organizations with proactive programs in helping women rise in business.
A good example of this is the She’s Next Grant Program by Visa, which is focused on helping black women-owned businesses. Through the program, recipients get a $10,000 grant as well as annual coaching. Another example is the Grow Her Business program, which is led by the National Women’s Business Council. From lenders to educators, the Grow Her Business program provides available resources that can help women excel in businesses.
How Women Can Become Better Leaders
Not every woman enjoys the same opportunity to rise and excel in businesses. Many continue to struggle to prove their worth and break barriers. For women who would like to make a name for themselves, it helps to take online executive education courses. This is a form of distance learning that equips women with the necessary knowledge and skills to unleash their full potential and climb to the top of the corporate ladder.