First Women to Be in the Boards of Directors of Top Corporations

First Women to Be in the Boards of Directors of Top Corporations

First Women to Be in the Boardsof Directors of Top Corporations

Women arerising in every aspect and breaking all stereotypes, especially in the businessand corporate world. This century has seen more women at the top positions ofcorporations than in the entire history. One thing that is common between everywoman who has ever been on the top position in a man's world is that "they allwere extraordinary."

Whilethere are still a few barriers left to be crushed, women have worked hard overthe last5 to 6 decades to bring their knowledge and expertise into the boardroom. Following are the women who were the first female board member of hugecorporations.

Joan Ganz Cooney, Johnson & Johnson (1978)

Joan GanzCooney was one of the greatest businesswomen in corporate history. She was theco-founder of CTV (Children's Television Workshop) in the year 1968 and servedas the CEO till 1990. She is currently the head of Executive Committee of theirBoard. In the year 1978, she joined Johnson & Johnson which is a pharmaceuticaland consumer packaged goods manufacturer as a member of the board. She was alsoin the boards of directors on many corporations like Chase Manhattan Bank,Metropolitan Life Insurance, Edison Schools and Xerox. Joan is currently theDirector at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and she is also a trustee of manyNGOs.

Hillary Clinton, Wal-Mart (1986)

No oneneeds to tell you about Hillary Clinton but not most of the people know thatshe was the first woman as a boardroom member at Wal-Mart in 1986. Being on theboard, she encourages gender impartiality and nature matters. She worked foralmost 6 years as a board member and in those 6 years, Wal-Mart had developedan environmental advisory group.

Catherine Cleary, General Motors & AT&T (1972)

CatherineCleary was the first woman to serve both AT&T and General Motors as a boardmember in the year 1972. While her tenure in General Motors, she encouragesmany female talent. Catherine was trying to make employers realize that therewas a supply of very capable employees in their company who just happened to bewomen. Before she brought the revolution in GM, she was also the first-everfemale board member at Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance in the year 1955 andshe was also an administer at the University of Wisconsin. She died in the year2010 at the age of 93.

Sybil Collins Mobley – Sears, Roebuck & Co (1982)

Well,Giannini Hoffman was the first women who served as a board member of Sears butin the year 1982, Sybil Collins Mobley became the first African-American to bein the boards of director. Anheuser Busch Co., Hershey Foods Corp., PremarkInternational are some companies in which she served as a boardroom member.Sybil also worked as a dean of the School of Business and Industry at Florida A&MUniversity.

Hideko Kunii, Honda Motor (2014)

In 2014,Honda Motors appointed Hideko Kunii as first female board member. Being a techexpert she worked at Japanese electronics maker Ricoh. She is well known topromote gender equality in japan intensely patriarchal working system and sheis also a professor in Tokyo.

Marian Heiskell, Ford Motor (1976)

In theyear 1976, Ford Motors appointed a skilful print media executive as the firstfemale board of directors and her name is Marian Heiskell. Her name came up becauseof various conservationist and philanthropic activities. She was an honourablecitizen on Gateway National Recreation Area also the head of National Parks ofNew York Harbor Conservancy.

Terry Savage, McDonalds (1990)

Everyoneknows Terry Savage as influential speakers on personal finance andinternational markets. But very few know that she began her career as astockbroker after getting a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship in American Studies atthe University of Michigan and later she became the first female trader on theChicago Board Options Exchange. Later in the year 1990, she joined McDonald'sas a board of director where she worked for over 14 years. She also servedChicago Mercantile Exchange Group and Pennzoil-Quaker State Corporation asboard member.

Jill Ruckelshaus, CostCo (1996)

One ofthe most influential women in the last century is Jill Ruckelshaus. She hasachieved many things in her lifetime and one of her achievement is to be thefirst female board member of Costco in the year 1996. She worked as anEnvironmental Consultant, Director at UNICEF and also earned Peabody Awards forRadio and Television. She is still actively working in national Women'sPolitical Caucus and various Women's Forums.


Women arenow not the inferior gender, they have proved over and over again that theyhave the capabilities to run any size of business. Well, there are more womenwho are dominating in business and corporate world and there is more to come.

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