50 POWER MOMS: Celebrating Today’s Moms

This Mother’s Day, let's focus on the moms who have shown us that women can have both children and high powered careers. We’re not exactly sure how they do it, but we sure as hell are impressed and motivated to know that they do. Because moms need role models too.
Written by
Kim Le
Published on
May 3, 2024

Celebrating the Mom Identity

The global media giants have elevated the list-making phenomenon to a new ideal. The annuals lists have generated much online discussion and interest; and we love them. From Forbes’ spotlight of up and coming talent with their annual ‘30 under 30’ list, the TIMES 100 most influential people in the world, and Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index, we are obsessed with lists. We put our idols and larger than life icons into neat lists that memorialize them with a new prestigious label to add to their portfolio. Yet we don’t seem to have a list to celebrate the exceptional moms who against the odds have risen to the pinnacle of their career track.

Women Who Defy the Motherhood Penalty

There’s a phenomenon called the “Motherhood Penalty” where women show a decrease in their earnings after having kids. Ironically, there is an observed “Fatherhood Bonus” where men actually earn more after having kids. A 2020 study has helped put a number to the long felt disparity but often not able to articulated by women.

However, Power Moms show us women who have navigated a high powered career and motherhood. They show us that despite the headwinds women face entering motherhood, we can succeed.

These moms are often celebrated alongside other high achieving women for their career identity without mention or celebration of their other identity as a mother. We want to celebrate both.

50 Power Moms

Interesting Female Executive Stats

  • In 2024, 10% of Fortune 500 today are led by female CEOs:
    • AMD, one of the hot semiconductors stocks of the past year alongside Nvidia, is led by CEO Lisa Su (who is not on the list, since we don’t know if she has children).
    • Oracle, a stalwart in database software and cloud computing despite a barrage of newcomers, is also led by a female CEO Satra Catz, who does have kids.
  • Female CFOs at Fortune 500 have are just slightly more common at 12.6%
    • In the male dominated tech industry, finding female CFOs is just as challenging as finding female founders and CEOs, which make this group all the more inspiring
    • Interestingly, Alphabet, Microsoft, SpaceX, Nvidia, and Meta all currently have Female CFOs, and not all of them has children. Meta’s current CFO assumed the role at the young age of 36.
  • Yet almost half of the Fortune 500 companies have female CMOs: 47% from a last reported data point in 2022.
  • Female Founders who were also moms were significantly more challenging to identify because of the lack of public data. Though it’s estimated that only 15% of startup founders are females, suggesting the group that are moms are even smaller. Some illustrious and high-profile female founders who are also moms include:
    • Joy Mangano, the founder of Miracle Mop. Jennifer Lawrence actually starred in the titular role in the movie Joy based on the Mangano life and business.
    • Whitney Wolfe Herd, the founder of Bumble and also co-founder of Tinder. Most memorably, she was photographed holding her baby when ringing the bell during Bumble’s IPO. With over 50 million active uses on Bumble, she has indubitably shaped how Americans now find love.

Happy Mother’s Day

Three decades ago when I was growing up, there weren’t that many females in high profile public roles. The growth of women in board and in leadership positions have accelerated in the past decade. A surprising number of them are also moms. Although they remain the minority, women achieving career success and motherhood is both progress and sign of hope that we can have both. We can’t wait to see how the landscape evolves in the years to come.

Related Articles

If you liked our 50 Power Moms article, check out the rest of our articles in the Mom Boss Series.

9 Mom-Owned Businesses in NYC

10 Mom-Owned Businesses in Massachusetts

And Just for Fun: Our Methodology

  • There really isn’t any. Lots of Google searches followed up by extensive readings from a wide range of sources, sometimes on Wikipedia.
  • Data on Children: It’s damn hard to figure out if these female leaders have children unless we locate an interview where they mention the impact of their children on their work. Most of the professional biographies naturally do not mention their personal lives, so we don’t know much about how they balance life and work.
  • Hope you had fun reading!

References

[1] Nicholas Salter, PhD, "A Brief History of Female Fortune 500 CEOs", OSU.edu, March 31, 2021

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