By Bethany Biron

When Rosalind Brewer was appointed as CEO of Walgreens in March, she became not just the only Black CEO of a Fortune 500 company, but also one of the few women in C-suite positions in the entire retail industry.

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, women hold 29% of executive- and senior-level positions in retail, slightly below the 31% of female leaders across all industries. When looking explicitly at chief executive roles, women comprise just 12% of top positions, a disparity that exists even though women drive an estimated 70% to 80% of purchasing decisions.

The lack of women in these roles isn’t just a representation problem. By leaving women out of top leadership jobs, companies are in turn leaving money on the table: A May 2020 McKinsey report found that profits and share performance can be close to 50 percent higher when women are well represented in leadership roles.

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