Women soar in aerospace, defense | NWADG – NWAOnline

The already small roster of Fortune 500 companies led by women will shrink even further after PepsiCo Inc. Chief Executive Officer Indra Nooyi steps down from her role this year. But in one sector that has been male-dominated, gender balance seems to be moving in the opposite direction.

By next year, three of the top U.S. defense firms — Lockheed Martin Corp., General Dynamics Corp. and most recently, Northrop Grumman Corp. — will have a female CEO. And Boeing Co. has had a woman at the helm of its $21 billion defense, space and security business since 2016.

While industry officials and observers have cheered the progress, many also say the corner office moves don’t reflect sweeping change in the overall industry. A survey released last year by trade publication Aviation Week found that only 24 percent of the aerospace and defense workforce is female. That number is down from 26 percent 10 years earlier.

Women made up only 3.2 percent of the logging industry, 9.1 percent of the construction workforce and 23.5 percent of the transportation and utilities industry, according to a report published last year by Catalyst, a nonprofit organization that supports women in the workplace.

“If we want to take full advantage and be the company we can … then we need to have full access and availability to the talent globally,” said Leanne Caret, chief executive of Boeing’s defense, space and security sector. “And why would we ever want to limit ourselves to a portion of the population?”

Northrop Grumman is the latest defense company to name its first female CEO, announcing last month that company President Kathy Warden will move into the top job next year. She will join CEOs Marillyn Hewson of Lockheed Martin and Phebe Novakovic of General Dynamics.

Hewson, Novakovic and

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