The top tiers of America’s largest companies are slowly — very slowly — but surely including more women.
This year, the Fortune 500 list has a record-setting 41 women-led companies on it. (That’s 8 percent of the companies included — not stellar, considering it’s 2021, but still a win.) Among them are three women whose presence on the list is especially noteworthy.
First, there are now two Black women simultaneously running Fortune 500 companies for the first time ever: Roz Brewer, who heads up pharmacy giant Walgreens Boots Alliance, the no. 16 company; and Thasunda Brown Duckett, who runs financial services organization TIAA, which is no. 79 on the list. Prior to Brewer’s and Duckett’s inclusion, the only Black woman to ever run a Fortune 500 was Ursula Burns, who once ran workplace tech company Xerox.
Additionally, Karen Lynch — CEO of CVS Health — is the highest-ranking woman in the 67-year history of the Fortune 500 list. (CVS Health is the no. 4 highest-earning company.)
Experts don’t think it’s by chance that the number of women is trending higher. “We’re seeing more intentionality,” Lorraine Hariton, CEO of global gender equality nonprofit Catalyst, told Fortune. “We’re seeing a focus on women of color. And we’re seeing a recognition that diversity and women in leadership is even more important.”
Other women on the 2021 iteration of the list include Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser, Nasdaq leader Adena Friedman and Gap Inc. CEO Sonia Syngal.