It might not make any difference, except for the fact that a female CEO is different. Only 3% of CEOs in the U.S. are women, despite the fact that women comprise at least 50% of the workforce. The figures are worse in other countries. This is despite the fact that the percentage of women who are qualified to be CEOs of big companies, and interested in the job, is much higher than 3%. Moreover, the percentage of women CEOs is dropping. There were at least 1% fewer women CEOs in 2013 tan in 2012. Why?
Female CEOs are more likely to be fired than male CEOs, according to a study the consulting firm formerly known as Booz & Co. More women are pushed out than men- 10% more women CEOs have been fired over the last decade. Additionally, according to the study, many female CEOs are placed when the male candidates were not interested in the job. Accordingly, most female CEO’s were therefore not the Board’s first choice. Women CEOs often find themselves at the helm of struggling companies- they have a tougher job. Additionally, these women inherit male dominated executive staff, which, sadly, more often than not adds to the difficulties of their role. So what does this have to do with Marissa Mayer?
Yahoo’s female CEO is currently fighting to keep her job. Looking at the company’s performance data, she has performed as well, if not better, than many of her male peers. Nevertheless, she faces more scrutiny. During this week’s earnings call, Marissa Mayer responded to every concern raised about her performance…notice I said her performance, not the company’s performance. The company is profitable; it is performing well. The criticisms are focused on this woman CEO’s judgment calls- her business decisions. The arguments made by investors basically boil down to, the stock could do better…our returns could be better.
Maybe Yahoo’s stock and returns to investors could be better, and then again, maybe not. However, that is not the point, nor is it the reason Marissa Mayer is fighting to keep her position. Look around at all of the countless examples of male CEO’s who not only do not have to justify every decision they make, their feet do not get held to the fire when the companies they run are not profitable. Male CEOs keep their jobs and their big salaries, even when they are not performing well. Female CEOs actually have to do a great job to keep their position…good is not even good enough for a woman to keep her CEO job. And, make no mistake, this higher standard applies to women at every level of a company.
Will Marissa Mayer keep her title as CEO of Yahoo? I don’t know, but I do know that if she doesn’t it will be because she is a woman.