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Black Women doing it big: Women as CEOs via the Charlotte Post

Wesley Carter. Picture via The Charlotte Post

Of the six black chief executive officers of Fortune 500 companies, only one, Ursula Burns, chairman and CEO of Xerox, is female.  Results of an investigation of black female leadership in Fortune 500 companies revealed that Burns is the only black female CEO out of 12 female Fortune 500 CEOs. In fact, in 2009 Burns made history by becoming the first black female CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

Ursula M. Burns serves as Madam Chairman (or Chairperson) and CEO of Xerox. Photo via Wikipedia

Ursula Burns - Forbes

Research indicates that the black woman’s knowledge about leadership has typically been ignored or devalued.  In a 2004 study conducted by the Catalyst Research and Development Group, “Advancing African American Women in the Workplace: What Managers Need to Know,” results indicated that African-American women contend with discrimination in the form of stereotyping, questioning of their credibility, and little or no institutional support.
Often burdened with media depictions as loud, argumentative, and self-righteous, black women have gotten a raw deal. Yes, it is a cultural tradition that most black female leaders possess a skilled verbal assertiveness. And yes, black women leverage their verbal assertiveness to negotiate respect. In lieu of material symbols of power, skilled verbal assertiveness is a powerful weapon. In a 2001 study conducted by Parker, findings indicated that African-American female executives described themselves as direct and focused. Rarely will a black woman resort to tears or whining as a means of manipulation.

Continue reading at The Charlotte Post.

Read more:
The Most Powerful African Women (Part 1) - Forbes
Black, Female and in Charge- The Root

Other Black Female CEO’s from all over the world:

Oprah Winfrey, American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer and philanthropist

Angela Benton, CEO of Black Web Media LLC.Photo via CNN

Siza Mzimela, Chief Executive Officer, South African Airways

Rosalind Brewer, Chief Executive Officer, Sam's Club. Photo via Spellman College

Eunice Walker Johnson (April 4, 1916 – January 3, 2010), Founder founder and director of the Ebony Fashion Fair. Photo via Progressive Geek

Nonkululeko Nyembezi-Heita, . CEO, ArcelorMittal, Photo via the Root

Madam C.J. Walker (December 23, 1867 – May 25, 1919),businesswoman, hair care entrepreneur and philanthropist. Photo via Wikipedia

President and CEO of M&F Bancorp, Inc., Photo via M&F Bancorp



  1. mngyimah 17 April, 2012 at 17:38 Reply

    This was an interesting article as we have the same issues here in the UK. There is the problem of ‘dual discrimination’. This not only manifests itself in recruitment, retention and promotion but also in the gender pay gaps. We need to look at ways to tackle the serious damage being done by continually allowing these stereotypes to persist.

  2. giftnappyabyss 17 April, 2012 at 23:19 Reply

    Madame CJ Walker grew up picking cotton in New Orleans and moved to St Louis to wash hair for five dollars a day for her brother who were barbers. In the 1890’s only one percent of the population had plumbing so black womens seldom washed their hair and as it left her scalp routinely, Madame CJ saved her money to come up with a solution for this dilemma. A brauny African man appeared to her in a dream and told her to mix sulfur and petroleum to restore her hair loss and she grew to become the first female millinoaire in the country. She was placed on a black radical list by the government for teachin other black women to become millionaires.

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