Women CEOs at FORTUNE 500 Companies

The Number of Women Running FORTUNE 500 Companies

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The number of women running FORTUNE 500 companies in 2000 was three. In 2009, 15 women CEOs ended the year at the helm of FORTUNE 500 companies including two women of color, Indra Nooyi (PepsiCo) and Andrea Jung (Avon Products.)

2000: There were only 3 women CEOs running FORTUNE 500 companies. Also in 2000, 50 FORTUNE 500 companies had women holding a quarter or more of corporate officer titles, but 90 FORTUNE 500 companies had no women corporate officers at all.

2001: As of August 2001, there were 5 women CEOs running FORTUNE 500 companies.

2002: 10 women ran FORTUNE 500 companies and a total of 11 ran FORTUNE 1000 companies.

2003: There were only 8 women CEOs at the helm of FORTUNE 500 companies. However, according to USA Today, "The smart money was on the women in 2003. Eight Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs, and as a group they outperformed the broader market by a substantial margin."

2004: In 2004 there was 6 women FORTUNE 500 CEOs. Women-run FORTUNE 500 companies out performed male-run FORTUNE 500s.

2005: During 2005 9 women CEOs ran FORTUNE 500 companies but by the end of the year the number fell to 7.

2006: 11 women started out on the list, and 10 women CEOs ran FORTUNE 500 companies at the end of the year.

2007: 12 Women CEOs ran FORTUNE 500 companies and a total of 25 FORTUNE 1000 companies have women in the top job (up from 20).

2008: The number of women CEOs remained at 12.

2009: By year-end, there were 15 women CEOs running FORTUNE 500 companies including Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox, the first African American female CEO in the United States.

How Data Was Compiled: During some years, statistics on the number of female CEOs were published more than once. The numbers above reflect the highest number of female CEOs during any given year unless otherwise specified.

Because CEOs leave, and the FORTUNE 500 company list is dynamic, changes in numbers can occur depending upon when female CEOs were counted during the year.


  • Some data was extracted from a compilation of published lists on CNNMoney.com 2000-2009.
  • Catalyst. Catalyst Census Finds 50 Companies With Significant Numbers of Women Corporate Officers, a 100% Increase Since 1995 Press Release, November 13, 2000.
  • NPR. Steve Inskeep. Women CEOs Still Rare Among FORTUNE 500. February 23, 2005.
  • Yoji Cole. November 7, 2007.
  • BiDeveristy.com Women CEOs Slowly Gain on Corporate America. January 11, 2009.​
  • HireSmart.com Three Out of Four CEOs Think About Quitting Their Jobs. Accessed December 2, 2009.
  • USA Today. Del Jones. 2003: Year of the woman among the 'Fortune' 500?. December 30, 2003.
  • 2005 Catalyst Census of Women Corporate Offices and Top Earners of the FORTUNE 500

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