The phrase women in business covers the participation of women in leadership roles in commerce. Women are said to be underrepresented in corporate leadership, making up only 4.8% of CEOs in most companies, despite making up over 50% of an average organization’s work force.
Katharine Graham became the CEO of The Washington Post company in 1972, making her the first female CEO of a Fortune 500 company. In her memoir, Graham outlines the personal struggles that she faced as a woman in such a high position at a publishing company.
She constantly doubted herself and would often look for reassurance from male colleagues. Yet, she played an integral part in the success of the Washington Post.
During her three decades of leadership, revenue grew nearly twentyfold and the Washington Post became a public corporation listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Ursula Burns was named CEO of Xerox in 2009. The then $17 billion industry leading company was run by Anne Mulcahy, who chose Burns as her successor.
This transference of leadership was the first time a female CEO chose another female CEO to succeed her. There are currently only 5 African American CEO’s heading Fortune 500 companies and amongst them Burns is the only female. By accomplishing this she defeated the odds that many young women of color are facing today in the western world.
The Nigerian story may not be much of a difference, as most organizations seem to struggle with the responsibility of creating gender balance in the distribution of roles in their companies.
Divisional Head, Brand and Communications Fidelity Bank Plc Charles Aigbe speaks on the role of women in business and economic growth.