Number of Fortune 500 women CEOs reaches historic high

June 3, 2014, 10:00 AM UTC
Stan Honda/AFP—Getty Images

For those keeping score of women on the Fortune 500, here’s some good news: The definitive ranking of America’s biggest companies boasts some 24 female CEOs, up from 20 a year ago, and more than at any point since Fortune started compiling executive gender in 1998.

The “meh” news: That still represents a small percentage —4.8% to be exact — of the overall CEOs on the list. While just one woman led a Fortune 500 company  in 1998, that number slowly rose to 15 in 2009 before declining to 12 women by 2011.

This year’s list comes with six new women CEOs, two of whom will be defined by how the deal with huge corporate crises in their first year as CEO. Mary Barra became the first woman to lead a major automotive company in January when she took over as chief executive of General Motors. Barra is currently navigating GM through a recall of millions of vehicles linked to a 2005 faulty ignition problem. Lynn Good, the CEO of Duke Energy, became CEO last August and is now dealing with one of Duke’s biggest environment crises in the company 100-year history. More than 30,000 tons of Duke’s coal waste accidentally spilled into a North Carolina river in February.

Engineering company CH2M Hill announced in January that company-insider Jacqueline Himan would be taking over the CEO spot and convenience retailer CST Brands also announced that month Kimberly Bowers would become CEO. Tobacco giant Reynolds American brought back former CEO Susan Cameron to lead the company effective May 1st and just last month Ross Stores announced Chief Merchandising Officer Barbara Rentler would take over the C-suite.

The 2014 Fortune 500 CEO list is also noticeable lacking one high-powered female tech executive. This year, for the first time in nine years, Yahoo is not a part of the Fortune 500 and CEO Marissa Mayer has fallen off the list after making her debut last year.

And while women make up a small percentage of the Fortune 500 CEOs, American companies are slightly more balanced than those of some of our peer economies. Despite droves of policies in place to support bringing women into executive leadership, only 3% of Scandinavia’s largest firms are led by women. Stay tuned for Fortune’s upcoming Global 500 to see how women CEOs fare on the ranking of the world’s largest companies.

Here is the full list of Fortune 500 women CEOs:

1. Mary Barra – General Motors  (No. 7 on the 2014 Fortune 500)

2. Margaret Whitman – Hewlett-Packard  (No. 17)

3. Virginia Rometty – International Business Machines  (No. 23)

4. Patricia Woertz – Archer Daniels Midland  (No. 27)

 5. Indra Nooyi – Pepsi Co  (No. 43)

6. Marillyn Hewson – Lockheed Martin  (No. 59)

 7. Ellen Kullman – DuPont  (No. 86)

8. Irene Rosenfeld – Mondelez International  (No. 89)

9. Phebe Novakovic – General Dynamics  (No. 99)

10. Carol Meyrowitz – TJX  (No. 108)

11 Lynn Good – Duke Energy  (No. 123)

12. Ursula Burns – Xerox  (No. 137)

13. Deanna Mulligan – Guardian Line Ins. Co. of America  (No. 245)

14. Kimberly Bowers – CST Brands  (No. 266)

15. Debra Reed – Sempra Energy  (No. 267)

16. Barbara Rentler – Ross Stores (No. 277)

17. Sherylin McCoy – Avon Products  (No. 282)

18. Denise Morrison – Campbell Soup  (No. 315)

19. Susan Cameron – Reynolds American  (No. 329)

20. Heather Bresch – Mylan  (No. 377)

21. Ilene Gordon – Ingredion  (No. 412)

22. Jacqueline Himan – CH2M Hill (No. 437)

23. Kathleen Mazzarella – Graybar Electric (No. 449)

24. Gracia Martore – Gannett (No. 481)