The Media Disproportionately Blames Women CEOs for Company Problems

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A new report released by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Global Strategy Group found that the media could be having an impact on the way we perceive women in leadership. When the press writes about failing companies, women CEOs are getting a disproportionate amount of the blame.

The study found that “nearly 80% of digital and print media stories about companies in crisis cited the CEO as a source of blame when the company’s leader was a woman,” The Wall Street Journal reports. Whereas when a man was the CEO of a failing company, the media only cited them 31 percent of the time as the culprit. It was even interesting to see when gender was referenced at all. From the WSJ:

Some 4% of articles analyzed explicitly noted the subject’s gender when the story was about a male chief executive. The portion of articles analyzed that did the same when the piece was about a female CEO: 49%.

The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100x25 campaign — an effort to reach 100 female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies by 2025 — also found that one in four Americans works in companies with no female management. There are currently only 23 female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and 78 percent of the stories the organization analyzed about female CEOs mentioned their families and children. The articles about male CEOs? No mentions at all.

The Media Blames Women CEOs for Company Problems