working women

More CEOs Named John or David than all #womenCEOs in S&P1500

Last week we wrote about the sad but revealing fact that there are more directors of S&P1500 companies named John, Robert, William or James than all the women directors for those companies, taken together.

Now, the NYTimes has reported on another name analysis in corporate leadership.  Their finding?  There are more CEOs named “John” or “David” than all the women CEOs of those companies, taken together.  There is some good news for gender equality, though.  (And no, its not that there are at least more women CEOs than ones named “Robert”, “James”, “Michael”, or “William” in the S&P1500).  The good news is that in the political arena, things look better for women — at least for the Democrats.  In Congress, there are just as many women as men with any of these names in the Democratic Party.  That’s not the case in the GOP, where there are just as many female legislators as men named “John.”

In all seriousness though, is all this name analysis even fair?  What if there are just huge numbers of people of a certain age named “John”?  Are the numbers misleading?  According to the NYTimes, the last Census to publish first names was in 1990 and the following were the percentages of the population with these names:

  • James: 3.3%
  • John: 3.3%
  • Robert: 3.1%
  • William: 2.5%

Women comprised over 51% of the population.

So yes, in case you were wondering, the name analysis is not just light-hearted stuff.  It shows a real issue with corporate America’s leadership diversity.


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