《财富》40位40岁以下的商界精英（Fortune 40 Under 40）榜单由我领导的团队负责，我们会每年一次评选出40岁以下最具影响力的商界精英。从榜单推出以来，上榜的女性数量，尤其是女性不足的问题，一直是热门话题。
我很高兴地告诉大家，现在这已经不是问题了。今年的榜单上，有39岁的雅虎（Yahoo）CEO梅丽莎•梅耶，出任这项职位时，她是最年轻的《财富》500强公司（Fortune 500）领导人；英国水务公司Severn Trent的CEO奥利维亚•加菲尔德，也是富时100指数公司（FTSE 100）仅有的五位女性CEO之一（包括所有年龄段）；Twitter公司首席法律顾问维杰亚•加德，是该公司管理团队中唯一的女性；以及伊莉莎白•霍尔姆斯，她的血液诊断初创公司Theranos的市值已经达到90亿美元。
The complaints each year are by now predictable. A few sample tweets since last week: “Why so few women on the #Fortune40?” “We need more women on this list.” “Astounding… Less than half? Wake up.”
I oversee the team that puts together the Fortune 40 Under 40 list, our once-a-year ranking of the most influential people in business under age 40 (head here to check out this year’s list). And for as long as we’ve been doing it, the topic of the number of women on the list—specifically, the lack thereof—has been an issue.
I’m happy to report that it’s become less of an issue. This year we have impressive women like Marissa Mayer, the 39-year-old CEO of Yahoo YHOO -3.08% who became the youngest person to head a Fortune 500 company the year she stepped in; Olivia Garfield, CEO of UK water company Severn Trent and one of five women CEOs—of any age—on the FTSE 100; VijayaGadde, general counsel of Twitter TWTR -3.79% and the only woman on the executive team; and Elizabeth Holmes, whose blood-diagnostic startup Theranos is valued at $9 billion. (Read our June cover story on Holmes, “This CEO is out for blood.”)
But there are only 15 women on the list. 15 out of 40 is not parity—far from it. And that’s where the complaints come in.
Of course we agree: we need more women on this list. And we’d love to have half of the 40 be women. But the deficit on our list reflects the deficit in reality. It also reflects a truism about women in business I’ve come to realize. When it comes to women under 40, the universe of candidates whose business achievements (typically that’s revenue, funding, size or scale of company) match men of the same age group is much smaller than we’d like it to be. But when you look at women between 40 and 44, the universe of powerful women explodes in number — and their roles are much bigger. The sweet spot for women in business, I would argue, is ages 40 to 44.
I can’t even count the number of times we’ve come across a new name during the 40 Under 40 research process who we think is a shoe-in for the list only to discover she’s just missed the cutoff and is actually 40 or 41. This year, to cite just one example, we were thrilled to learn about a young divisional CEO at a major bank. We were briefly elated in the office—discovering new people in very big jobs is the holy grail for this list—until we learned she’d turned 40 just months prior. This kind of disappointment has happened to me so many times over the years that I have a word for it: fortyfreude; it’sschadenfreude, of the 40 under 40 variety. We’re so happy for their success; we only wish they were still eligible.