Media blames female CEOs more than male counterparts for company trouble

During tumultuous times, the media is far more likely to point fingers when a company CEO is a woman than a man, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Roughly 80 percent of digital and print media stories covering companies in crisis cited the CEO as a source of blame when the leader was a woman, compared with 31 percent of stories pointing the finger of blame at male CEOs, according to a study by the Rockefeller Foundation and public relations and research firm Global Strategy Group, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The research is part of the Rockefeller Foundation's 100x25 campaign, which aims to further the goal of having 100 female CEOs in Fortune 500 companies by 2025. According to Catalyst, a nonprofit dedicated to women's workplace inclusion, there are currently 23 women CEOs in S&P 500 firms.

"Women are still a rarity at the top and they get more attention when they fail," said Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation.

Researchers reviewed more than 100 news articles about 20 CEOs who were either in the midst of a crisis, ousted, newly appointed or hired from within the company. The stories covered a range of 15 years. While 4 percent of the articles explicated pointed out the CEOs gender when the leader was a man, 49 percent did when the story was about a female CEO, according to the report.

Among the stories on female CEOs, 16 percent discussed the leader's personal life and 78 percent mentioned her family and children. In comparison, 8 percent of stories about male CEOs discussed the leader's personal life, and none of them mentioned family or children, according to the report.

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