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Resources for Professional Women: Leadership

Resources for Professional Women: Leadership

Women make up half of the global population, contribute $7 trillion in US consumer and business spending and drive 85% of all consumer purchasing. But the power of women in the economy isn't translating to the workplace. While women represent 47% of the US workforce, we hold less than 20% of Fortune 500 Board seats, 14% of the top five leadership positions at the companies in the S&P 500 and 4% of S&P 500 CEO spots. There are even more men named John running large corporations than there are women CEOs.

The business case for gender parity is evident. As Sallie Krawcheck, Chair of Ellevate Network, has pointed out, "More diverse companies have higher returns, lower volatility, lower risk, more client-focus, more innovation. Diverse leadership teams out-perform smarter, more capable leadership teams."

But the gender achievement gap in business still exists. We are seeing some progress on closing the gap as the conversations around women in the workplace increase and more and more companies implement programs around sponsorship, women on boards, family leave, professional development and work/life balance. 

Below, we recognize the companies that are working hard to directly impact the ratio of women in leadership.

Companies Closing the Gender Gap on Corporate Boards

Boards of directors influence decisions that impact employees, customers, shareholders -- all of us. Yet according to the 2020 Gender Diversity Index, women represented less than 18% of Fortune 1000 company directors.  A diverse board leads to diverse mindsets, experiences, viewpoints, and solutions.

  • Open Network for Board Diversity (ONBOARD): Spearheaded by the U.S. Small Business Administration and LinkedIn, the goal of the initiative is to increase the number of women and minority members of advisory boards and boards of directors of high growth small businesses, with special emphasis on those businesses supported by Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs).
  • 2020WomenOnBoards: A national campaign to increase the percentage of women on U.S. company boards to 20% or greater by the year 2020.
  • Thirty Percent Coalition: A national organization of more than 80 members committed to the goal of women, including women of color, holding 30% of board seats across public companies.
  • theBoardlist: A curated talent marketplace for business leaders to recommend, discover and connect highly qualified women across industries with great tech board opportunities at scale.
  • Women in the Boardroom: Committed to translating the intellect, skills and expertise of their members into inaugural or additional powerful corporate director roles.
  • Forté Foundation Women on Boards Initiative: Forté is creating the most comprehensive list of board-ready women with the goal of bringing attention to the lack of women on corporate boards.
  • WomenOnBoard, a Catalyst Initiative: promotes the appointment of women to corporate boards by engaging CEOs and Board Chairs who are committed to improving board diversity, to mentor and sponsor CEO-endorsed women board candidates.
  • Deloitte's Board-Ready Women Program: Aims to prepare women for board service and lay the groundwork for future placements on public company boards.
  • DirectWomen: DirectWomen is a national non-profit that works to increase the representation of women lawyers on corporate boards. Twenty-two percent of their alumnae serve on at least one large corporate board.

Companies Closing the Gender Gap in Politics

The United States has yet to see a female President... or Vice President. Women make up less than 20% of Congress and less than 20% of Mayors. We need more women in politics to influence policy, advocate for equality, and amplify the voice of all Americans.  

  • VoteRunLead: VoteRunLead supports the aspirations of women who want to transform our country and democracy through their participation as leaders.
  • She Should Run: A non-partisan 501(c)3 organization expanding the talent pool of future elected female leaders.
  • Off The Sidelines: Off The Sidelines is Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's call to action for women to make their voices heard on the issues they care about.
  • All In Together: Committed to ensuring women's voices are fully represented in political and civic life.
  • The New American Leaders Project: Leading a movement for inclusive democracy by preparing first and second generation Americans to use their power and potential in elected office.
  • Barbara Lee Family Foundation: Builds strategic, nonpartisan partnerships to deploy a broad range of tactics that help women succeed in American politics.
  • Running Start: Running Start is working to inspire and train the next generation of young women political leaders.
  • The Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP): A unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, the CAWP is nationally recognized as the leading source of scholarly research and current data about American women’s political participation. Its mission is to promote greater knowledge and understanding about women's participation in politics and government and to enhance women's influence and leadership in public life.

Ellevate is proud to work with many of the companies on this list because we believe that as a community of companies committed to closing the many gender gaps that exist today, the power of shared resources, knowledge, and passion is critical. Take a look at the complete list of companies here.

Want more information on the companies doing great things for women leaders? Sign up for the Morning Boost to get curated content straight to your inbox.

Is there a business that you'd like us to include on this list? Want to be included on this list yourself? Email us at


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