Hear them roar: Global 500’s women CEOs

July 12, 2011, 10:30 PM UTC

This is a great summer for powerful women.

There are the obvious victories, like Christine Lagarde grabbing the reigns of the International Monetary Fund after Dominque Strauss-Kahn’s tumultuous fall from grace.

And then there are the successes that you won’t read about in the tabloids. Two Fortune 500 companies, Sempra Energy (SRE) and Guardian Life, promoted women to CEO this past month–Debra Reed and Deanna Mulligan, respectively. Campbell Soup , named Denise Morrison CEO and president, effective August 1, 2011. She happens to be the sister of Fortune Most Powerful Women CEO, Frontier Communications’ Maggie Wilderotter.

Is it 2006 all over again? That year, as the weather warmed, so did the icy resistance to female CEOs. Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo , Irene Rosenfeld of Kraft , and Pat Woertz of Archer Daniels Midland were all named to the top jobs at their corporations and now top Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women list.

The recent appointments represent a major stride in diversity, although they’re not as globally monumental as those in 2006. Fortune‘s just-released 2011 Global 500 list includes the same number of women CEOs this year as last.

Regardless, in the spirit of l’été des femmes, Fortune‘s gallery of 12 Global 500 women CEOs highlights remarkable accomplishments and the footprints they’re leaving for future generations to follow.

Click here to check out the gallery.