Powerful Women in Business: Criteria for Rankings and Additional Qualities

FORTUNE recently announced the 2020 edition of its Most Powerful Women in Business list, which includes 16 FORTUNE 500 CEOs.


  1. Julie Sweet, CEO, Accenture
  2. Mary Barra, Chairman and CEO, General Motors
  3. Abigail Johnson, Chairman and CEO, Fidelity Investments
  4. Gail Boudreaux, President and CEO, Anthem
  5. Carol Tomé, CEO, UPS


  1. The top 5 women on the list are the CEOs of their companies: Accenture, General Motors, Fidelity Investments, Anthem and UPS
  2. Sixteen Fortune 500 CEOs are included on the 2020 list.
  3. The total market cap of public companies led by Most Powerful Women in Business CEOs is $1.02 trillion.
  4. There are 13 newcomers to this year’s list.
  5. Technology and finance are tied as the most represented industries on list, with 10 executives represented from each.
  6.  The first Most Powerful Women in Business list was published in 1998.


FORTUNE has used the same four criteria to rank the Most Powerful Women list since its advent in 1998:

  1. Size and importance of each woman’s business in the global economy
  2. Health and direction of the business
  3. Arc of her career
  4. Social and cultural influence

Now, to account for this moment of crisis and uncertainty, as well as positive change, the list also considers how the executives wield their power, and whether they are using their influence to shape their companies and the wider world for the better.

In his foreword to the November issue, Editor-in-Chief Clifton Leaf discusses FORTUNE’s decision to award Accenture’s Sweet the top spot: “[Accenture], which commands a market cap of close to $150 billion, brought in $44.3 billion in revenue in its latest fiscal year, while profits rose 7% from the previous year. As the team writes: ‘Sweet steered Accenture’s more than half-a-million employees in 51 countries through the pandemic, a crisis that has made the firm’s skills more essential than ever.’ Those skills, in case you’re wondering, involve helping much of the rest of the corporate world get through their own digital transformations. Or as Kristen puts it, succinctly: ‘When the pandemic hit, everybody had to accelerate their five-year plans into a week and a half. That’s what Accenture does.'”

To read more, see https://fortune.com/most-powerful-women/2020/


This list is a good prompt to consider what constitutes “powerful,” particularly for female CEOs and other women in business. When you look at this list of women in business, what qualities do you think they share?

For our part, the additional criteria of “how the executives wield their power, and whether they are using their influence to shape their companies and the wider world for the better” are important elements to consider. Can you think of other female CEOs and women in business doing work that makes a difference or who possess additional qualities that you admire?

Post your comments now!


About artsbiz365 104 Articles
Andrea Karen Hammer, a Philadelphia-based freelance writer, is the founder, CEO and owner of Artsphoria Inclusive & Collaborative Publishing, Media Group & Shop (https://www.artsphoria.org). She leads the operation and innovation at Artsphoria: Arts, Business & Technology Center (https://www.artsphoria.biz), Artsphoria Event Advertising & Reporting (https://www.artsphoria.info); Artsphoria International Magazine (https://www.artsphoria.com), Artsphoria Movie Reviews & Film Forum (https://www.artsphoria.us); Artsphoria: Food for the Soul (https://artsphoria.live); Artsphoria's Animation & Imagination World (https://www.artsphoria.net) and Artsphoria Shop (https://artsphoriashop.com).

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