Today, things aren’t exactly smooth sailing for women. Both inside and outside of the workplace, women are still fighting many of the same battles as always, and it’s definitely getting old. That being said, it’s always helpful to take a step back and celebrate the small victories. After all, despite the ever-present struggle for equality, there are reminders of progress everywhere.
Today, Fortune released its 2018 list of Most Powerful Women (MPW). This year, the list of 51 women is headed up by Marillyn Hewson, the chairman, president, and CEO of Lockheed Martin. Hewson is joined by 28 other CEOs on this year, up two from last year.
A notable addition to this year's list is chairman and CEO of OWN, Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey was on the MPW list for years but dropped off after 2013, when she no longer had a daily show. Now, she's back after her huge investments in Weight Watchers shot company stock up from $6.79 to $103, among several other career and investment wins this year.
The 2018 MPW list is littered with women in the C-suite at several powerful companies, and includes seven newcomers, two returnees, and CEOs who, combined, control just below $1 trillion in market capital. And yet, looking at the list one thing is starkly obvious: Still noticeably missing from the most powerful women in business are women of color. The list this year, as in previous years, is predominantly white and is a visual representation of the lack of racial diversity in the top tiers of business.
Similarly, this year’s Fortune 500 list had only 24 women running the country’s most powerful companies, with only two women CEOs of color on the list. It’s worth noting, there were no Black women on the list at all. This, of course, has roots in the fact that Black women have more trouble securing funding, on top of dealing with rampant racial discrimination in the workplace. And though most women deal with sexism and gender bias at work, when you add a racial element it’s clear why representation at the top isn’t what it should be.
While a list that celebrates powerful women in business is certainly a good thing, it's also an important reminder that there still remains much work to be done — especially when it comes to making space for women of color at the top.