What Percentage of CEOs are Women in 2024?

JW
By: Josh Wardini

Women comprise about 47% of the US workforce. However, only less than a quarter are part of senior executives. Gender bias, stereotyping, and diversity of leadership are several reasons for the massive gap in the number of women in higher management. 

Since 2021, the percentage of women CEOs leading Fortune 500 companies has remained at 8%. The rate hit a groundbreaking record in 2024 as the number of female CEOs increased to 53 from 48. They now make up 10% of the leaders of Fortune 500 companies.

In this article, learn about the latest statistics on the percentage of women CEOs in 2024 and see how the gradual growth came about. Read on.

Unveiling the Percentage of Female CEOs Worldwide

In 2021, the percentage of women in CEO and managing director roles globally is 26%. Female executives even manage about 46% of large private companies. 

The trend towards women in leadership is rising, especially now that large companies like General Motors and Mondelēz International are appointing female CEOs. However, it is essential to note that the percentage of women in leadership roles also varies by region:

Region% of Women in Senior Leadership
Africa39%
Southeast Asia (ASEAN)38%
Latin America36%
European Union34%
North America33%
Asia Pacific (APAC)28%

Even though the number of female CEOs is increasing, women are still under-represented in the key fields. Fortunately, opportunities for women in business are also growing as gender equality and inclusivity become a significant part of company policies. 

Read on for the latest insights on the percentage of women CEOs across various industries and countries in 2024. 

What is the Male-to-Female Ratio of CEOs?

Compared to women, there are more male executives running companies. A 2018 report revealed that the ratio of male to female CEOs was 19:1. This clearly shows that despite the recent advancements, there is still an underrepresentation of females in key executive positions. 

In this section, discover the different statistics related to female CEOs in 2024.

1. In 2024, the average pay of female startup CEOs is $131,000.

(Kruze Consulting)

Male startup CEOs' average pay is $145,000, which is $14,000 more compared to the average salaries of female CEOs.  Though this is already reduced from the difference of $20,000 in 2022, the gap is still more than 10%. 

The difference between the earnings of men and women CEOs of startup companies may vary depending on the industry. There are areas where both male and female CEOs are paid equally. Meanwhile, there are roles where women earn more—like compliance officers, vocational nurses, and wholesale/retail buyers.

2. Female CEOs lead 8.2% of S&P 500 companies as of 2024.

(Catalyst, WBC)

In 2024, there is a 30% increase in female CEOs in the S&P 500 companies. From 32 female CEOs in the previous year, there are now 42 female executives on the list. Women currently hold 8.2% of CEO roles. The number is expected to rise to 15% by 2025 and 20% by 2030.

Women in S&P 500 companies are also exhibiting good results. An S&P Global Market Intelligence report revealed that companies with female CEOs and CFOs yielded better stock price performance than the market average. 

3. In the first quarter of 2024, approximately 32.2% of senior management is female.

(World Economic Forum)

The percentage of women taking up senior leadership roles like Director, VP, and C-Suite leaders is gradually increasing—from 31.1% in 2016 to 32.6% in 2022. However, it dropped to 32.2% in the first quarter of 2024.

While there has been a steady rise in the number of women in senior leadership, the recent drop in Q1 2024 also suggests the need to secure constant progress in gender diversity at the senior management levels.

4. About 204 Russell 3000 companies have female CEOs in the first half of 2024.

(WBC)

Russell 3000 reported a substantial increase in women CEOs from 186 in 2022 to 204 in the first half of 2024—indicating a 9.68% increase. This translates to women making up 6.8% of CEOs in Russell 3000 companies as of June 2024.

5. There are over 79 female CEOs in private companies with revenues over $1 billion in 2024.

(WBC)

As of 2024, private companies with revenues over $1 billion have 79 female CEOs. They make up only 3.3% of the total CEOs of the largest organizations. Furthermore, only 14.2% of private company boards have at least one female member. The lack of female figures on company boards influences the market value. 

According to a study in the Organization Science journal, a gender-diverse board may indicate a weaker “commitment to shareholder value.” Researchers suggest that companies should execute careful consideration when appointing female executives to reassure shareholders. Look into the Reddit thread below to dive into discussions about this study: 

6. Women occupy only 31% of the CEOs in the US.

(Leftronic)

There is a significant gap between the number of men and women CEOs. In the US, 31% of CEOs are women, including women in political leadership. The number will rise as more companies give women better chances to be part of the board. 

7. Women in the US hold over 40% of top management positions.

(Mckinsey & Company)

Women face the biggest hurdle in attaining the managerial position. For every 100 men promoted from entry-level to executive roles, only 87 women receive the same promotions. This is due to the huge gender disparity in early promotions. 

Men hold 60% of manager-level positions, while women occupy 40%. Fewer women get promotions to senior managers, and the number of women decreases at every subsequent level.

💡 Did You Know?

The higher the position, the more the number of women declines. One of the most significant factors behind this is childbirth. 

At child-rearing age (late 20s to early 30s), women are more expected to stay at home and take care of the kids. This leads them to miss out on promotions, which affects their career opportunities in the long run. 

Watch the video below to see how bearing children affects women’s corporate ladder climb. 

8. Over 37 Fortune 1000 companies are managed by women.

(Catalyst, WBC)

During the 1980s, Marion O. Sandler and Linda Wachner made history by being among the CEOs of the top 1000 most prominent companies in the US. A decade later, only about 0.2% of female CEOs were on the Fortune list. 

Currently, 7.4% of CEOs of Fortune 1000 companies are run by women. There has been a steady increase in female inclusion in leadership positions, as they manage about 37 Fortune 1000 companies.

9. Over 26% of women hold a C-suite position as of 2024.

(CGT, Women in the Workplace)

Women have experienced positive results at every leadership level in the supply chain workforce, especially within the C-suite and executive level. 26% of those roles are filled by women as of July 2024, marking a 7% growth from 2022.

 📚 What the research says:

The presence of women in C-suite positions extends beyond representation alone. A Harvard Business Review article revealed how adding women to C-suite roles transforms the business perspective positively. Companies with women in senior positions typically provide safer and higher-quality customer experiences. 

10. Globally, 87% of businesses have at least one woman in management.

(Grant Thornton)

A survey conducted among 5,000 mid-market businesses revealed that 29% of women within the mid-market businesses took senior management roles. The report also said that 87% of global companies had at least one woman in a senior management position.  

The numbers above imply progress in women’s growing involvement in leadership roles. However, they only reflect the state of female leadership in mid-market businesses. Such matters indicate the need for improvement in different business scales and sectors.

Conclusion

Many people criticize women’s leadership abilities, attributing their emotions as arguments against them. However, an emotional leader is compassionate, listens, and cares for their employees.  

Companies are trying to limit the gender gap by creating more accepting work environments and providing equal opportunities for mentorship early on in women’s careers. With these in place, more women will soon be in different top management and leadership positions worldwide.

FAQs on Women CEOs

Which country has the most female CEOs?

Thailand has the world's highest proportion of female CEOs, with 30% of companies employing female CEOs. China takes the second place with 19%. 

What is the difference between a CEO and an owner?

A CEO is the person with the highest ranking in the company. Generally, he’s also the business owner—but that is not the case for all businesses. The CEO can make all managerial decisions, while the owner has sole proprietorship. Ownership may come without the power to make executive decisions.

Who is the youngest female CEO?

The youngest female CEO is April Koh, aged 16. She is the co-founder of a mental healthcare service-providing company, Spring Health. 

Sources

Yahoo Finance

Kruze Consulting

Catalyst 

WBC

World Economic Forum

Leftronic

CGT

Mckinsey & Company

Women in the Workplace

Grant Thornton