A new low for the Global 500: No women of color run businesses on this year’s list

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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Uber shares guidance for appropriate driver-passenger conversation, Oprah Winfrey continues advocating for Breonna Taylor, and there are no women of color who run businesses on this year’s Global 500. Make the most of your Monday.

– Global view. The Fortune Global 500 today hit a new low. For the first time in several years, all of the women who run Global 500 companies are white.

The 2020 Global 500 list is out this morning, and women run just 13 of the 500 companies that made the cut. Thirteen is one fewer than last year, and two of the companies to drop off the list happen to be the ones run by women of color. Flex, the manufacturing and supply chain logistics company led by CEO Revathi Advaithi, didn’t meet the list’s $25.4 billion revenue cutoff. Pertamina, the Indonesian state-owned oil and gas company led by president director Nicke Widyawati, did not report 2019 fiscal-year results by the list’s close, excluding the business from this year’s tally.

Fortune‘s data on female Global 500 CEOs goes back to 2014, and in the past six years there has never been a Global 500 in which zero women of color ran businesses on the list. (Past women among this group include former PepsiCO CEO Indra Nooyi, former chairman and managing director of Hindustan Petroleum Nishi Vasudeva, and former State Bank of India chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya.)

The list of female Fortune 500 CEOs is hardly a diverse one—there are no Black women running Fortune 500 businesses and only three women of color do so—but this year’s Global 500 is decidedly worse for diversity, especially when you consider that the Global 500 represents businesses in every country around the world. (The Global 500 ranks companies by size across the global economy, compared to the Fortune 500’s U.S. focus.)

On this year’s list, Mary Barra’s GM is the highest-ranking woman-led company (as a multinational corporation, GM appears on both the Fortune 500 and the Global 500). There are other Fortune 500 repeats: Anthem CEO Gail Boudreaux, UPS CEO Carol Tomé, Best Buy CEO Corie Barry, Oracle CEO Safra Catz, General Dynamics CEO Phebe Novakovic, Progressive CEO Tricia Griffith, and Northrop Grumman CEO Kathy Warden.

The other five names come from companies headquartered outside the U.S. Accenture is incorporated in Ireland, putting CEO Julie Sweet on the Global 500 list. Amanda Blanc was named CEO of the U.K. insurer Aviva in July. Claire Waysand is interim CEO of the French electric utility Engie; she succeeded Isabelle Kocher, who was ousted from the role in February. Martina Merz runs the German industrial engineering conglomerate Thyssenkrupp. And Emma Walmsley is still at the helm of British pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline, leading the business through the coronavirus vaccine race.

These 13 women lead just 2.6% of Global 500 businesses.

The Global 500—like the Fortune 500—is not a scientific assessment of where women stand in the global economy, but it does provide a moment-in-time insight into who is running the world’s biggest businesses. This year, it’s not women of color.

See the full Global 500 here.

Emma Hinchliffe


- 26 billboards. Oprah Winfrey is continuing to use her platform to seek justice for Breonna Taylor. This time she put up 26 billboards around Louisville—in honor of Taylor's 26 years—that feature a version of Taylor's O Magazine cover and call for the police who killed her to be arrested. A related piece to read: this Washington Post feature about Taylor's sister, Ju’Niyah Palmer.

- Polite conversation. Ever felt uncomfortable during a conversation with an Uber driver? The company is now training drivers on appropriate "conversational boundaries," including avoiding questions like "are you married?" The training videos are in partnership with RAINN as part of a broader sexual assault and harassment education initiative. Fortune

- Diagnosing the problem. One reason the U.S. health care system can be racist and sexist? Less than 3% of doctors are Black women. Fortune's Maria Aspan talks to doctors about why the problem persists—and the issues it perpetuates. Fortune

- Power couple. In a joint op-ed, Michelle Obama and Melinda Gates sound the alarm: "adolescent girls in low and middle-income countries are particularly at risk of being overlooked and left behind" during the coronavirus pandemic. Girls' education, safety, and security are all at risk around the world right now. CNN

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Major League Baseball hired KPMG chief diversity and inclusion officer Michele Meyer-Shipp as chief people and culture officer. 


- Tracing the strike. In India, 1 million women have been working as coronavirus contact tracers. Now 600,000 of them are going on strike. Before coronavirus, the Accredited Social Health Activists worked to eradicate polio, prevent women from dying in childbirth, and provide health services in rural areas and slums; the ASHAs are seeking better pay and a changed legal status as workers. Bloomberg

- Congress in Kansas. In last week's primaries, all four Native American women who ran for office in Kansas won their primaries. Christina Haswood, 26, is the presumptive winner of a state House seat and says she was inspired to run by Rep. Sharice Davids, who in 2018 became one of the first two Native women elected to Congress. "I always thought that us Natives weren’t accepted in politics here in Kansas, but then Congresswoman Davids did it,” Haswood says. “And I was like, ‘OK, I can do it too.'" Indian Country Today

- Mask up? We already knew that artificial intelligence could be racist and sexist, but this new discrepancy is quite something. Researchers found that when analyzing masked faces, A.I. often misidentified masks as facial hair on men. On women, a common misidentification was "duct tape"—with A.I. drawing on portrayals of women as victims of violence. VentureBeat


How Ghislaine Maxwell’s arrest upended the filming of Surviving Jeffrey Epstein Fortune

100 years later, these activists continue their ancestors’ work New York Times

How Kristi Noem, Mt. Rushmore and Trump fueled speculation about Pence’s job New York Times


"It’s like this underground community that’s talked about but not talked about."

-Kristen Wiig on going through unsuccessful IVF and then welcoming twins through a surrogate

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