By Ellen McGirt
June 7, 2017

It’s a big day here at Fortune HQ. The The 2017 Fortune 500 dropped this morning.

There’s a lot to sort through in the data and analysis, so feel free to mute your feeds and put your devices on do-not-disturb for as long as it takes to get your fill. But let me flag a couple of things for you to get you started.

First, the year’s list includes 32 female chief executives, up from 21 the year before. It’s the largest number of women CEOs since the ranking was first published in 1955. (Don’t lay wreaths at the Fearless Girl’s feet just yet. They’re still just 6.4% of the list.) But one milestone deserves a special call-out: PG&E’s Geisha Williams just joined the list and is the first-ever Latina CEO to appear on the 500.

Today also marks the first time that Fortune’s data team has published their analysis of the available diversity data that describe the 28 million people who work within the Fortune 500 universe. It’s an ongoing project, designed to be a resource to better understand the progress of the cohort as they work towards a more inclusive workforce. You can submit your own here.

Here’s a snapshot: One hundred companies on the list share some data about the gender or ethnic makeup of their employees, but only 3.2% of companies release a complete dataset in each job category and management level. (Fortune considers “complete data” to be the information on the Department of Labor’s EEO-1 form, or its equivalent.) But, says Grace Donnelly, “the vast majority of companies on the list that report their full diversity numbers are in the tech sector.” In fact, 75% of the companies in the tech space are making their numbers public. From this point of view, it makes their ongoing public struggles with diversity and inclusion even more meaningful.

With this much at stake, the numbers have to be more than an opportunity to scold, and more than just a good start.

We’ll have some exciting news to share on diversity reporting in the coming days, along with an update on an important new alliance between major corporate employers that we’ve promised in the past. It will be good news for anyone who is interested in a more inclusive world, I promise.

I don’t think I’m overselling this, either.

If the 28 million employees of the Fortune 500 were a country, they would populate the 12th largest in Africa or the 7th largest in Latin America. That’s a lot of influence. And the trickle down impact of a collective corporate commitment to inclusive leadership would be profound. Think about all those woke, bias-savvy people walking around, innovating, iterating, beating quarterly earnings estimates, holding governments to account, identifying unmet needs in communities, solving huge global problems and finding real talent in pipelines that were once invisible. I picture them all smiling, with perfect teeth, laughing over their shiny laptops, like a stock photo on a corporate diversity page, but real.


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