Boss Lady

Females blazing the path for all businesswomen


While the business world has historically been dominated by men, changing attitudes and greater opportunities are leading to change, with more and more women in business, reaching the top jobs around the globe. However, with just 37 of the largest US companies listed in this year’s Fortune 500 led by female CEOs, there is still work to do to get greater gender diversity in the corporate world. We take a look at some of the inspiring females blazing the way for all businesswomen to make an impact in the boardroom.

Sheryl Sandberg

Industry: Tech

Considered by many as second in command at Facebook, Sandberg (pictured above) has blazed a trail in the tech sector, and as its Chief Operating Officer, has been behind some of social media giant’s most important business decisions. She has also been a vice president at Google. With her Harvard education, including a Masters in Business Administration, Sandberg was also the first woman to serve on Facebook’s board.

Irene Rosenfeld

Industry: food manufacturing

As a child, Rosenfeld dreamt of being the US president and while her career didn’t follow this path, she blazed a trail for women in the food manufacturing industry. CEO of Kraft, and then Mondelēz International after restructuring, overseeing global brands such as Ritz and Oreos, she was one of the highest paid women in business, until she retired in 2017.

Marillyn Hewson

Industry: Aerospace and defence

Until June this year, Hewson was the CEO of the US aerospace and defence manufacturing company, Lockheed Martin and is now the current Chair. Repeatedly named by Fortune magazine as one of the most powerful women in business, Hewson was an economist before joining the Lockheed corporation. During her seven years as CEO, she took Lockheed Martin to the forefront of innovation in the industry, with its stock increasing by 300%.

Emma Walmsley

Industry: Pharmaceuticals

The only woman amongst the 25 highest paid CEOs in the FTSE 100, Walmsley previously worked for L’Oréal, before joining GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in 2010. In 2017 she was appointed GSK’s CEO and is currently the only woman holding the post in any of the top 10 global pharmaceutical companies, despite women making up 65% of the healthcare sector workforce.

Mary Barra

Industry: auto manufacturing

CEO of General Motors since 2014, Barra is the first female to hold the top position with a global car manufacturer. With her degree in electrical engineering, Barra started her career with GM in 1980 and worked her way up the ranks. Barra is also the highest paid CEO of the big three US car makers and has led GM to become ranked as one of the top global companies for gender equality.

Gail Boudreaux

Industry:  Health insurance

CEO of Anthem, one of the US’s largest health insurers with over 41 million customers, Boudreaux took up the role in 2017 after previously being CEO of UnitedHealthcare. She has also run her own healthcare consultancy. Anthem is the second largest US company to have a female CEO at the helm and Boudreaux is widely considered to be one of the most influential people in healthcare in the US.

Fibres report, Women in Business: who runs the world’s biggest companies

About Samantha Halmshaw'

Samantha Halmshaw is a marketing and sales advisor who specialises in the digital industry. In her spare time she produces commercial art and graphic design.

Recommended for you