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Why Top Female Executives Are Optimistic about the Progress of Working Women

If you ask some of the most powerful women in business today what the future looks like, most of them agree on one thing: It will be better.

Some days, it can feel like women have hit a plateau professionally. The number of female CEOs in the Fortune 500 has gone up only ever so slightly in the past few years (the proportion of female chiefs hovers around 5%), and even when women do manage to break certain glass ceilings, there’s that pesky glass cliff waiting for them if they make one wrong move.

Yet business leaders like Case Foundation CEO Jean Case, Ellevest co-founder Sallie Krawcheck, and Mattel CEO Margo Georgiadis remain hopeful that women will see better days.

“I think we’ll all feel equally excited…when women are equally represented in the workplace as they are in our population,” says Georgiadis.

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The reason for that optimism? “The business world is not static,” says Krawcheck. “If it were then we’d have to continue to play the game the same way that we have, but things are changing—driven by technology—at a quite rapid rate. Whereas before, if there were issues in the workplace, a woman had a choice: Stay gutted out, go without information to another company, or go home. Today, there’s a fourth really important choice, which is start your own thing.”