Decades ago, you’d be hard-pressed to find women in leadership positions in any industry. Decision-makers were predominantly men, with the outdated notion that women weren’t qualified to make hard choices, couldn’t understand the strategy, and lacked vision.
While women leaders have increased in popularity over the years, this growth has been uneven. For instance, of all the companies on the Fortune 500 list, only 37 have female CEOs — a record-breaking number, but one that’s still relatively low.
Women work hard in their roles and rise through the ranks. However, many seem to get stuck just below the VP level. In fact, in one 2019 survey of corporate directors, only 38% believed gender diversity was important, down 12% from the previous year.
Pushing Through the Inequality
Despite these numbers, women worldwide have learned to address barriers to their efforts and build worthwhile careers. They’ve become confident in what they can contribute to their respective fields and value support and solidarity from their colleagues.
Modern women are making gains in all types of corporations, including cooperatives owned by the members or employees of the organization. They’re also leading the way in business sustainability.
Remarkable Leaders in Sustainability
These fearless leaders have taken charge in sustainable business practices, spearheading green initiatives and enacting long-term change.
Janine Benyus of Biomimicry 3.8
Janine Benyus is the cofounder of Biomimicry 3.8, a bio-inspired consultancy business that emulates nature’s designs and processes for clients like Boeing, Nike, General Electric and other major league players.
The goal of these designs, such as solar cells that look like leaves, is to create a healthier planet. Biomimicry 3.8, both a for-profit and non-profit enterprise, also trains professionals and develops curriculums for educators.
Eileen Fisher of Eileen Fisher
Eileen Fisher started her clothing company of the same name in 1984 with a mission to create comfortable and sustainable apparel. The brand is committed to developing garments with sustainable fibers.
They manufacture their products in the U.S. to avoid the use of low-cost and unethical labor in foreign countries. They also encourage the recycling of clothing with their ReNew program, preventing unnecessary items from winding up in landfills.
Nathalie Green of Doconomy
Nathalie is a leader in the fintech sector, allowing individuals and businesses alike to lead more sustainable lives. Her banking service measures customers’ spending and savings and calculates their positive and negative impact on the planet.
The brand’s credit card, DO Black, is also one-of-a-kind. It limits customer spending once they reach their carbon emission limit.
Hazel Henderson of Ethical Markets Media
Henderson is a futurist, economist and recognized writer. Her company, Ethical Markets Media, promotes the transition to a greener and eco-friendlier economy. She also created the public TV series, “Ethical Markets,” which profiles professionals and environmentalists who lead successful green organizations. Her book, published under the same name, also highlights the growth of the green economy.
Gwen Migita of Caesars Entertainment
Migita is the Vice President of Social Impact and Inclusion and the Chief Sustainability Officer at Caesars. She develops sustainability policy and program strategies — including the People Planet Play initiative, which outlines their commitment to environmental excellence — and oversees community involvement. Today, because of Migita’s help, Caesars is a leader in corporate social responsibility.
Women Leading the Way
There’s still a lot of work to be done in shattering the glass ceiling — the symbolic obstacle women face when it comes to advancing in the workplace. However, there’s no doubt that women leaders are taking charge of adopting sustainable and eco-friendly business practices. While the women above have blazed trails in their given industries, many more are sure to follow in their footsteps.