Forbes published its list of the 100 most innovative leaders in America. The publication is receiving backlash for including just one woman, Ross Stores CEO Barbara Rentler.
Rentler ranked 75 on the list, and her name was published without a photounlike 91 men featured on the list.
Some claimed the avatar, which stood as a placeholder forRentlers photo, was of a manssilhouette. Whenthe Daily Dot looked into it on Sunday, the avatar was of a womanssilhouette.
Not even a *photo* of Barbara Rentler, the only woman on Forbes list of (100+) Americas Most Innovative Leaders. Just a silhouette of some dude. pic.twitter.com/ceUaxx3uCG
— Eric Oesterle (@erico) September 6, 2019
The only woman (Barbara Rentler) does look vaguely familiar. pic.twitter.com/BRj9uM4kUr
— PotemkinRealtors (@XxiBorza) September 6, 2019
and then some last minute editor thought to add one–so they picked #75, added a woman's name, didn't even bother screenshooting a wikipedia pic (even though they had pics of all the men)….
— Mehrsa Baradaran (@MehrsaBaradaran) September 7, 2019
— alliejanoch (@alliejanoch) September 8, 2019
Three men reportedly put together the list, Jeff Dyer, Nathan Furr, and Mike Hendron. Dyer is a BYU Marriott School of Business professor and Furr is an assistant professor at INSEAD, a business school in Fontainebleau, France.
In an email to the Daily Dot, Furr said the lack of women on the list was of great concern to them, but they didnt feel right to cheat the numbers and adjust the scale.
We are working with an organization to create a list of women leaders because we believe wholeheartedly that women need to be given equal attention, he said. But we really struggled with this list, since, there are very few women CEOs and because our list is built on objective measures related to press coverage, increase in market cap due to innovation, etc.
Furr said that the underlying problem is that there are fewer women CEOs in charge of innovative companies.
It didnt feel honest to cheat the numbers and advance women CEOs not on the list by the numbers. The issue was exacerbated by the fact that it is a list of CEOs which meant that leading lights such as Indra Nooyi could not be included as easily because they have stepped into a different role or are not the CEO, Furr added.
Furr didnt respond to questions regarding Rentlersavatar.
Rentler, who has been the Ross Stores CEO since 2014, has turned a massive profit for the company, according to a Fortune profile. Fortune claims Rentler wouldnt pose for a photo.
But, as many pointed out, there are still photos of her available online.
— Julie Cantor (@juliedcantor) September 7, 2019
People were critical of themethodology that went into compiling the list.According to a detailed explanation, the authorscreated a composite measure they believe represent important qualities of an innovative leader. One of the factors taken into account was theCEOs reputation in media coverage, specifically related to innovation,which their research found a directly correlates with the market value of the company. Other factors taken into account were social capital and following,the increase in the market value of the CEOs company, and theinvestors expectation that the companys innovation will grow.
Many pointed out that the methodology seems to ignore the systematic challenges stacked against women in leadership roles.
The methodologylimiting leaders to US CEOs of $10bn market cap cos, weighting media perception and social followingjust compounds existing biases, one user wrote.
Some commented on the methodology, while others pointed out the researchers shouldve questioned their methodology after seeing the results churned out just one woman.
Come on, @Forbes. If your methodology produced only one woman out of the 100 most innovative leaders, obviously you should have challenged it rather than publishing it,Valerie Jarrett wrote.
This is embarrassing, @forbes. One woman on a list of 100 most innovative leaders.
The methodologylimiting leaders to US CEOs of $10bn market cap cos, weighting media perception and social followingjust compounds existing biases.
Do better, Forbes. https://t.co/QExc1M7LyC
— #ANGELS (@HashtagAngels) September 6, 2019
Yet another example of the elimination of women and their accomplishments from the historical record.#HighlightTheRemarkable
Way to reinforce bias, @Forbes. Your methodology rely on already gender-biased criteria such as media coverage(see: https://t.co/EyVIfUxmEk). Do better. https://t.co/Ix0BZTY1fZ
— Elizabeth Hogan (@EHHogan) September 8, 2019
— Valerie Jarrett (@ValerieJarrett) September 8, 2019
This is infuriating. There was so much baked-in bias in their methodology, and they took no steps to correct it. Its both offensive and incredibly shoddy work. @Forbes fail!
Forbes draws heat for its list of 100 innovators which includes just one woman https://t.co/3mIvuUlwVu
— Shannon E. French (@SEFrench) September 8, 2019
Really? Out of 100 innovative leaders there is only 1 woman? If your methodology throws up such an imbalaced list, maybe it's time to think about how you define innovation (and leadership). Do better @Forbes. https://t.co/MP3JQIsPgR
— Prof Michelle Ryan (@shellkryan) September 8, 2019
Beyond the lack of women, many pointed out that the list is filled with predominantly white men.
Seems only one woman, maybe one Black man, zero non-binary people in Americas Most Innovative Leaders list, founder and CEO of Pipeline Angels Natalia Oberti Noguera wrote. Methodologys flawedthese results dont represent the most creative and successful minds of today.’
Methodology's flawed–these results don't represent "the most creative and successful minds of today."https://t.co/N038pWmGHq
— Natalia Oberti Noguera (@nakisnakis) September 6, 2019
So this is kinda random but I just noticed that the three men who created that 99%-dude Forbes list have not been on Twitter since 2016, 2015, and 2014, respectively. And its a list about innovation. This makes me blink hard. pic.twitter.com/QWPwJDLf3A