You’ve come a long way, baby. This slogan, part of the iconic Virginia Slims advertising campaign launched in the late 1960s, heralded a new age as women threw off the shackles of their conventional stay-at-home status and entered the working world in droves. Things have certainly changed in the past four decades, too. For years now, women have been routinely crashing through the glass ceiling to snag top management jobs and pursue traditionally male-dominated fields from medicine to law to engineering — and everything in between.
So where are we today? Well, women still lag behind men in many arenas. According to Catalyst, a nonprofit dedicated to expanding opportunities for women, only 3.8 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions are held by women (and we’re thrilled that one of them, IBM’s Virgina Rometty, is based right here in the Hudson Valley). In addition, in 2011, professional women’s median weekly earnings were still about 25 percent less than men’s earnings. Still, opportunities abound. And today’s women have increasingly turned their attention from “Can I do that?” to “Can I have it all?”
Here, we introduce you to our inaugural class of women in business: 11 one-of-a kind females who have found their way in the working world — whether it’s striking out on their own or rising up the ranks to become a CEO. Read on to hear their inspiring stories.