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Nooyi shares what it takes to get more women in the C-suite

Nooyi shares what it takes to get more women in the C-suite
(Image credit: Former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi (CME Group))

With women occupying the CEO role at just 6.6% of Fortune 500 companies, management experts are constantly trying to remove the gender bias in the C-suite. Indra Nooyi, who was the CEO of PepsiCo for more than a dozen years, says it would be a mistake to only focus on the top positions in management. Speaking at CME Group’s 12th annual Global Financial Leadership Conference, Nooyi said there are some systemic hurdles along the pathway to leadership that must be overcome for women to ascend to top roles at major companies.  

  • Childcare for infants and young children continues to present a challenge for many women. Nooyi believes that developing quality options for all working families would help propel more women into corporate leadership roles.
  • Despite all the headlines about workplaces being “woke,” gender bias is still a very real problem at many companies. The bias not only prevents women from rising to the top of the organizational chart, it also drives some women to leave firms where they have built up seniority in order to start anew at a new company.
  • Old school work hours are failing to account for the needs of the modern family. Flexible work hours would help more families in general — and women specifically — juggle life on the home front with career prosperity.

Nooyi, who is also a board member at Amazon, is passionate in her belief that a CEO should think longer term when pondering corporate strategy. “If every CEO said ‘I’m going to manage this company to the duration of the company and not the duration of the CEO’ I think we would have much more robust companies that survive for a longer time.”