Visualizing Gender Diversity in Corporate America
There’s been a massive push to increase diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
However, it appears corporate America still has a ways to go, particularly when it comes to diverse representation in corporate leadership roles. In 2021, only 8.2% of Fortune 500 CEOs were female. Of those females, 85% of them were white.
This graphic by Zainab Ayodimeji highlights the current state of diversity in corporate America, reminding us that there are still significant gender and racial gaps.
Five Decades of Fortune 500 CEOs
Since 1955, Fortune Magazine has released its annual Fortune 500 list that ranks the 500 largest U.S. companies, ranked by total revenue earned each fiscal year.
For the first 17 years of its publication, there were no female CEOs on the Fortune 500. Then in 1972, Katharine Graham became CEO of the Washington Post, making her the first-ever female CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
Following Graham, a few other women joined the ranks, such as Marion Sandler, co-CEO of Golden West Financial Corporation, and Linda Wachner, CEO of Warnaco Group. But apart from those few outliers, Fortune 500 CEOs remained almost exclusively male for the next few decades.
At the turn of the millennium, things started to change. Women-led companies started to appear more frequently on the Fortune 500. Here’s a breakdown that shows the number of women CEOs on the list, from 1999 to 2021:
|Year||Fortune 500 # of Women CEOs||% of Total|
Slowly, women of color started to appear on the list as well. In 1999, Andrea Jung, the CEO of Avon, became the first East Asian female CEO in the Fortune 500. And in 2009, Xerox CEO Ursula Burns was the first Black woman to become CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
By 2021, 41 of the Fortune 500 companies were led by women—8.2% of the overall list.
While this increasing total is a clear trend, it’s important to note that women make up nearly 50% of the global population, meaning genders are still not equally represented in corporate leadership.
The Financial Benefits of Diverse Workplaces
Along with the number of societal and cultural benefits that come with a diverse workplace, research indicates that diversity can also be financially beneficial to corporations, and enhance a company’s bottom line.
A study by the Council of Foreign Relations found that gender equality in the workforce could add up to $28 trillion in global GDP.
According to the Council of Foreign Relations, a number of policy changes are needed to help close the gender gap in the workforce, such as legislation to promote women’s access to capital and financial services, or tax credits for childcare support.
This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.
Visualizing 90 Years of Stock and Bond Portfolio Performance
How have investment returns for different portfolio allocations of stocks and bonds compared over the last 90 years?
Visualizing 90 Years of Stock and Bond Portfolio Performance
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Last year, stock and bond returns tumbled after the Federal Reserve hiked interest rates at the fastest speed in 40 years. It was the first time in decades that both asset classes posted negative annual investment returns in tandem.
Over four decades, this has happened 2.4% of the time across any 12-month rolling period.
To look at how various stock and bond asset allocations have performed over history—and their broader correlations—the above graphic charts their best, worst, and average returns, using data from Vanguard.
How Has Asset Allocation Impacted Returns?
Based on data between 1926 and 2019, the table below looks at the spectrum of market returns of different asset allocations:
|Stock / Bond|
|Best Annual Return||Worst Annual Return||Average Annual Return|
|0% / 100%||32.6%||-8.1%||5.3%|
|10% / 90%||31.2%||-8.2%||6.0%|
|20% / 80%||29.8%||-10.1%||6.6%|
|30% / 70%||28.4%||-14.2%||7.2%|
|40% / 60%||27.9%||-18.4%||7.8%|
|50% / 50%||32.3%||-22.5%||8.3%|
|60% / 40%||36.7%||-26.6%||8.8%|
|70% / 30%||41.1%||-30.7%||9.2%|
|80% / 20%||45.4%||-34.9%||9.6%|
|90% / 10%||49.8%||-39.0%||10.0%|
|100% / 0%||54.2%||-43.1%||10.3%|
We can see that a portfolio made entirely of stocks returned 10.3% on average, the highest across all asset allocations. Of course, this came with wider return variance, hitting an annual low of -43% and a high of 54%.
A traditional 60/40 portfolio—which has lost its luster in recent years as low interest rates have led to lower bond returns—saw an average historical return of 8.8%. As interest rates have climbed in recent years, this may widen its appeal once again as bond returns may rise.
Meanwhile, a 100% bond portfolio averaged 5.3% in annual returns over the period. Bonds typically serve as a hedge against portfolio losses thanks to their typically negative historical correlation to stocks.
A Closer Look at Historical Correlations
To understand how 2022 was an outlier in terms of asset correlations we can look at the graphic below:
The last time stocks and bonds moved together in a negative direction was in 1969. At the time, inflation was accelerating and the Fed was hiking interest rates to cool rising costs. In fact, historically, when inflation surges, stocks and bonds have often moved in similar directions.
Underscoring this divergence is real interest rate volatility. When real interest rates are a driving force in the market, as we have seen in the last year, it hurts both stock and bond returns. This is because higher interest rates can reduce the future cash flows of these investments.
Adding another layer is the level of risk appetite among investors. When the economic outlook is uncertain and interest rate volatility is high, investors are more likely to take risk off their portfolios and demand higher returns for taking on higher risk. This can push down equity and bond prices.
On the other hand, if the economic outlook is positive, investors may be willing to take on more risk, in turn potentially boosting equity prices.
Current Investment Returns in Context
Today, financial markets are seeing sharp swings as the ripple effects of higher interest rates are sinking in.
For investors, historical data provides insight on long-term asset allocation trends. Over the last century, cycles of high interest rates have come and gone. Both equity and bond investment returns have been resilient for investors who stay the course.
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