Olivia Harvey
September 09, 2019 8:53 am

On September 3rd, Forbes released its “America’s Most Innovative Leaders” list—a ranking of the “most creative and successful business minds of today,” as the article reads. Out of 100 innovative leaders, only one name on the list belongs to a woman. And Twitter is (rightfully) pissed.

The ranking was completed by business school professors Jeff Dyer and Nathan Furr, along with consultant Curtis Lefrandt. They measured the leadership qualities of top American CEOs and founders based on media reputation, social connections, value creation, and investor expectations.

They also limited themselves to only ranking leaders of U.S. firms with greater than $10 billion market value, of the 50 largest private U.S. firms to go public over the past five years, and of U.S. firms within the top 100 companies on the most recent Forbes Most Innovative Growth Companies list, as the article “How We Rank America’s 100 Most Innovative Leaders” explains.

Barbara Rentler, the CEO of Ross, was the only woman to place on the list. She placed 75th out of 100 and didn’t even get a photo.

The ranking is extremely telling of the gender bias in both the American corporate and tech industries. Could Forbes have shifted its ranking system to include more women? Absolutely. Rather than pointing out and somewhat celebrating the injustice of gender bias, Forbes could have inspired up-and-coming female entrepreneurs by drawing attention to more innovating women to look up to.

However, because they didn’t, Twitter was forced to fill in the blanks. How about Emerson Collective founder and co-founder of the Climate Leadership Council Laurene Powell Jobs? Or former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi?

Or the ladies behind EMILY’s List, the American political action committee that aims to help elect pro-choice Democratic female candidates to office?

There are so many amazing women leaders that could have been included on this list. We’re saddened by the wasted potential.

Luckily, Time is picking up the pieces. Phew.

It’s 2019, Forbes. Do better.

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