When Fortune published its first Most Powerful Women in Business list in 1998, there was Carly Fiorina at the top and not a huge amount of power underneath.
Relatively speaking, that is.
That 1998 Fortune MPW list included just two Fortune 500 CEOs: Jill Barad of Mattel (MAT) and Marion Sandler, who was co-chief of Golden West Financial with her husband, Herb. The 2013 Fortune MPW list, released this morning, includes 20 Fortune 500 CEOs. At the top: Ginni Rometty of IBM (IBM).
Fifteen years ago, most of the Fortune MPW were in the consumer packaged goods and media industries. The 2013 list features consumer-products stars--PepsiCo (PEP) chief Indra Nooyi, Mondelez (MDLZ) CEO Irene Rosenfeld and Procter & Gamble's (PG) Mel Healey and Deb Henretta. But women in tech dominate the new rankings. The 2013 top 10 includes five tech execs: Rometty, Facebook's (FB) Sheryl Sandberg (No. 5), Yahoo (YHOO) chief Marissa Mayer (No. 8) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) boss Meg Whitman (No. 9).
If you doubt that women overall are gaining power in corporate America, consider: Women run the two largest tech companies in the U.S.: IBM and Hewlett-Packard. Lynn Good, a newcomer to the list, heads Duke Energy (DUK), the biggest U.S. electric utility. And Marillyn Hewson (No. 4) is CEO of the world's largest defense contractor, Lockheed Martin (LMT). The 2013 MPW list includes four women in defense, vs. no defense-industry executives in 1998.
There are lots of moms on the 2013 MPW list (all of the top 10 except Rometty). And in general, Fortune's MPW are getting older. Average age: 53, vs. 48 in 1998. And why are the MPW aging? In part because their businesses are getting bigger: Today's Fortune MPW typically oversee at least $6 billion in sales, vs. $1 billion or so 15 years ago. Experience, as well as size, matters.
And for the first time ever, one woman who has always made Fortune's MPW list dropped off: Oprah Winfrey. Her cable network, OWN, seems to have overcome its startup struggles and is drawing bigger audiences, but the business isn't big enough to put Oprah, No. 50 last year, on the 2013 list.
With Friday's news that Marillyn Hewson will take the helm at Lockheed Martin (LMT), women in corporate America are about to hit a milestone. On January 1, there will be 21 female Fortune 500 CEOs.
That's a record, and one more than the U.S. Senate, which increased its female representation by two, to a record 20 female Senators, in last week's elections.
Granted, it's not quite time to pop the champagne. After MOREPatricia Sellers - Nov 12, 2012 7:57 AM ET
Marillyn Hewson, a nearly 30-year Lockheed veteran, currently runs the company's largest division.
By Beth Kowitt, writer
FORTUNE -- The fall of Lockheed Martin's incoming CEO Christopher Kubasik has elevated one of Fortune's Most Powerful Women.
Marillyn Hewson, No. 19 on our power list this year, was due to become COO on January 1 when Kubasik took over the top job from Bob Stevens -- that is until today when Kubasik resigned after MOREFortune Editors - Nov 9, 2012 7:00 PM ET
|GM's recalled Cobalt was a failure from the start|
|Michaels hack hit 3 million|
|Walmart offers cheaper money wire service|
|Americans have fallen in love with real estate once again|
|Why you should pay off your car loan ASAP|