The Wall Street Journal's CIO Journal picked up on our Female CIOs blog post but they added a key piece of fascinating insight:
"Women make up 17.4% of the Fortune 500 CIOs, compared to 11.4% of chief financial officers and 4.8% of chief executive officers."
This comparison is very interesting to those of us who track this sort of stuff, for a couple of reasons.
- Science and engineering are typically considered to be male dominated fields--yet women have quietly made significantly more headway here than in CFO and CEO roles. We say "quietly" because women's progress in the tech field is seldom reported and really bucks conventional wisdom. As we have observed (which the CIO Journal used as its headline), HALF of Fortune 10 CIOs are now women--a fact about which there has been little fanfare, until now.
- The CIO role is relatively new when compared with the CFO and CEO roles, which have been around forever. Most reports say that the Chief Information Officer (CIO) role came about some time in the 1980s. Yet, as the CIO Journal reports, women have made significantly more headway here than in other top CXO roles.
We can think of a few reasons, some of which might challenge politically-correct notions, as to why women are making headway in this role. Just look at the skill set that the job requires: juggling multiple complex projects, excellent communication skills, building consensus and winning buy-in across diverse stakeholder groups. Plus tenacity and patience. Not to say men don't have these skills (of course they do), but women have them in spades. (Send your hate mail here).