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About RBC > Media Newsroom > News Releases > Fortune Knowledge Group, in collaboration with Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Releases Study on Gender Diversity Among Fortune 500 companies in the U.S.

Fortune Knowledge Group, in collaboration with Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Releases Study on Gender Diversity Among Fortune 500 companies in the U.S.

New study reveals which Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. are leading the way in achieving gender diversity and why efforts to improve gender diversity so often fall short

New York, March 7, 2017 -  Time Inc.’s Fortune Knowledge Group, in collaboration with Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), has published a new study, issued today, on gender diversity at the C-suite level among 2016 Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. The study names companies leading the way in achieving gender diversity with Ingredion Incorporated (NYSE: INGR) topping the list. The other companies at the top of its Gender Diversity Index are: Avon Products, PepsiCo, Xerox, and Sempra Energy.

Key findings from Transforming the C-Suite: Developing and Advancing Women Leaders include the following:

  • The number of women holding CEO positions is just 4.2% among Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. and only 9% globally;
  • Only 21 companies in the 2016 Fortune 500 list include women at the helm, down from 24 in 2015;
  • Consistent with independent research from other institutions gender diversity in management, and specifically women in leadership roles, enhances corporate financial performance.

“This study shows that organizations with high proportions of senior female leaders also tend to have stronger financial performance,” commented Sharon Solomon, Managing Director and U.S. Head of Client and Marketing Strategy at RBC Capital Markets. “While other studies have also come to this conclusion, gender diversity at the most senior levels continues to be a challenge for businesses. It’s an issue we must draw attention to and one the business community must address.”

The study also examined gender diversity by industry. “Household and Personal Products” ranked #1 in achieving gender diversity. Other industries at the top of the study’s Gender Diversity Index included: Hotels, Restaurants and Leisure; Apparel; Food, Beverage and Tobacco; and Insurance.

Fortune Knowledge Group is the thought leadership arm of The Foundry, Time Inc.’s creative lab and content studio.

“The top companies stand out, in part, because they pay greater attention to hidden biases and the roadblocks that women face throughout their careers. They employ assertive strategies to improve their gender diversity performance and hold themselves accountable,” said Rama Ramaswami, Executive Editor of Fortune Knowledge Group.  “The companies achieving the most success with their female talent development initiatives tend to have several characteristics in common: an open and inclusive mindset, flexibility, and a willingness to accept and support change at all levels of the organization.”

The study shares insights from a survey of 1,000 senior executives globally to illustrate what businesses are doing to improve gender diversity in the C-suite and why their efforts largely fail. It also provides perspectives on:

  • The obstacles women face at each stage of their careers
  • What leading companies do to advance women to senior leadership roles
  • Practical steps organizations can take right now to improve gender diversity

Download a complimentary copy of Transforming the C-Suite: Developing and Advancing Women Leaders:

About Fortune Knowledge Group (“FKG”)
Fortune Knowledge Group, the thought leadership arm of The Foundry, Time Inc.’s creative lab and content studio, creates untapped thought leadership industry insights, giving the C-suite a competitive advantage in their business strategies. Unparalleled access to global business leaders, FKG content experiences connect business leaders to their peers to exchange business strategies, challenges and solutions in their respective industries across global markets.

About RBC
Royal Bank of Canada is Canada’s largest bank, and one of the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management, insurance, investor services and capital markets products and services on a global basis. We have over 80,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 16 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 35 other countries. For more information, please visit‎

RBC helps communities prosper, supporting a broad range of community initiatives through donations, community investments and employee volunteer activities. For more information please see:

About Time Inc.
Time Inc. (NYSE:TIME) is a leading content company that engages over 150 million consumers every month through our portfolio of premium brands across platforms. By combining our distinctive content with our proprietary data and people-based targeting, we offer highly differentiated end-to-end solutions to marketers across the multimedia landscape. Our influential brands include People, Time, Fortune, Sports Illustrated, InStyle, Real Simple and Southern Living, as well as more than 50 diverse titles in the United Kingdom, including Wallpaper. Time Inc. has been extending the power of our brands through various acquisitions and investments, including Viant, an advertising technology firm with a specialized people-based marketing platform; The Foundry, Time Inc.’s creative lab and content studio; and the People Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). The company is also home to celebrated events, such as the Time 100, Fortune Most Powerful Women, People’s Sexiest Man Alive, Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year, the Essence Festival and the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

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For more information, please contact:

Hannah Sloane, RBC Capital Markets, 212-558-0441

Kerri Chyka, Fortune, 212-522-3651


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