Forbes under fire for only including 1 woman on a list of top 100 innovators

The woman included doesn’t even have a featured photo. Eric Oesterle/Twitter Forbes published its list of the 100 most innovative leaders in America. The publication is receiving backlash for including...

The woman included doesn’t even have a featured photo.

Eric Oesterle/Twitter

Forbes published its list of the 100 most innovative leaders in America. The publication is receiving backlash for including just one woman, Ross Stores CEO Barbara Rentler.

Rentler ranked 75 on the list, and her name was published without a photo–unlike 91 men featured on the list.

Some claimed the avatar, which stood as a placeholder for Rentler’s photo, was of a man’s silhouette. When the Daily Dot looked into it on Sunday, the avatar was of a woman’s silhouette.

Cindy Gallop · Sep 6, 2019

Wow @forbes @jeffrey_dyer @nathan_furr @clefrandt @Mike_Federle. You should be ashamed of yourselves. It’s 2019 and America’s Most Innovative Leaders is 99 MEN AND ONE WOMAN? Un-bloody-believable. Did no one at Forbes query this? Where were @forbeswomen? https://www.forbes.com/lists/innovative-leaders/#1fea2c5226aa …America’s Most Innovative LeadersMeet today’s most creative business minds.forbes.com

Eric Oesterle@erico

Not even a *photo* of Barbara Rentler, the only woman on Forbes’ list of (100+) America’s Most Innovative Leaders. Just a silhouette of some dude.

View image on Twitter

9,2974:52 PM – Sep 6, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy2,124 people are talking about this

Anand Giridharadas · Sep 6, 2019

On @Forbes‘s list of America’s 100 “Most Innovative Leaders,” there are twice as many men named Stanley as there are women of any name.

And there are only two Stanleys.

That’s right: 99 of America’s 100 most innovative leaders are men, @Forbes says. https://www.forbes.com/lists/innovative-leaders/#79810ef526aa …America’s Most Innovative LeadersMeet today’s most creative business minds.forbes.com

PotemkinRealtors@XxiBorza

The only woman (Barbara Rentler) does look vaguely familiar.

View image on Twitter

3483:01 PM – Sep 6, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy18 people are talking about this

Mehrsa Baradaran · Sep 7, 2019

I’ve been thinking about how it was possible for @Forbes to have one woman on the list of 100! And not even include a picture. My theory is that they had no women at ALL….. https://twitter.com/erico/status/1170122683100479488 …Eric Oesterle@ericoReplying to @cindygallop and 6 othersNot even a *photo* of Barbara Rentler, the only woman on Forbes’ list of (100+) America’s Most Innovative Leaders. Just a silhouette of some dude.

Mehrsa Baradaran@MehrsaBaradaran

and then some last minute editor thought to add one–so they picked #75, added a woman’s name, didn’t even bother screenshooting a wikipedia pic (even though they had pics of all the men)….1,2858:00 AM – Sep 7, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy159 people are talking about this

alliejanoch@alliejanoch

Why didn’t @Forbes at least grab the photo from @Wikipedia? Maybe because Barbara Rentler’s Wikipedia article is really short, and has no photo! Help me fix this! https://twitter.com/erico/status/1170122683100479488 …Eric Oesterle@ericoReplying to @cindygallop and 6 othersNot even a *photo* of Barbara Rentler, the only woman on Forbes’ list of (100+) America’s Most Innovative Leaders. Just a silhouette of some dude.39:37 PM – Sep 7, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacySee alliejanoch’s other Tweets

Three men reportedly put together the list, Jeff Dyer, Nathan Furr, and Mike Hendron. Dyer is a BYU Marriott School of Business professor and Furr is an assistant professor at INSEAD, a business school in Fontainebleau, France.

In an email to the Daily Dot, Furr said the lack of women on the list was of “great concern” to them, but they didn’t feel right to “cheat the numbers” and adjust the scale.

“We are working with an organization to create a list of women leaders because we believe wholeheartedly that women need to be given equal attention,” he said. “But we really struggled with this list, since, there are very few women CEOs and because our list is built on objective measures related to press coverage, increase in market cap due to innovation, etc.”

Furr said that the underlying problem is that there are fewer women CEOs in charge of innovative companies.

“It didn’t feel honest to cheat the numbers and advance women CEOs not on the list by the numbers. The issue was exacerbated by the fact that it is a list of CEOs which meant that leading lights such as Indra Nooyi could not be included as easily because they have stepped into a different role or are not the CEO,” Furr added.

Furr didn’t respond to questions regarding Rentler’s avatar.

Rentler, who has been the Ross Stores CEO since 2014, has turned a massive profit for the company, according to a FortuneprofileFortune claims Rentler wouldn’t pose for a photo.

But, as many pointed out, there are still photos of her available online. 

Eric Oesterle · Sep 6, 2019Replying to @cindygallop and 6 others

Not even a *photo* of Barbara Rentler, the only woman on Forbes’ list of (100+) America’s Most Innovative Leaders. Just a silhouette of some dude.

View image on Twitter

Julie Cantor@juliedcantor

That makes sense because her picture is only right there on the Ross homepage and @Forbes doesn’t have internets.

View image on Twitter

3568:55 PM – Sep 6, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy27 people are talking about this

People were critical of the methodology that went into compiling the list. According to a detailed explanation, the authors created a composite measure they “believe represent important qualities of an innovative leader.” One of the factors taken into account was the CEO’s reputation in media coverage, specifically related to innovation, which their research found a directly correlates with the market value of the company. Other factors taken into account were social capital and following, the increase in the market value of the CEO’s company, and the investors’ expectation that the company’s innovation will grow.

Many pointed out that the methodology seems to ignore the systematic challenges stacked against women in leadership roles.

“The methodology—limiting “leaders” to US CEOs of $10bn market cap cos, weighting media perception and social following—just compounds existing biases,” one user wrote.

Some commented on the methodology, while others pointed out the researchers should’ve questioned their methodology after seeing the results churned out just one woman. 

“Come on, @Forbes. If your methodology produced only one woman out of the 100 most innovative leaders, obviously you should have challenged it rather than publishing it,” Valerie Jarrett wrote.

#ANGELS@HashtagAngels

This is embarrassing, @forbes. One woman on a list of 100 most innovative leaders.

The methodology—limiting “leaders” to US CEOs of $10bn market cap cos, weighting media perception and social following—just compounds existing biases.

Do better, Forbes. https://twitter.com/thefriley/status/1169656342660952066 …Sarah Friar@thefrileyAt first I thought maybe they had a men’s and women’s list….3,8831:44 PM – Sep 6, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy1,132 people are talking about this

Elizabeth Hogan@EHHogan

Yet another example of the elimination of women and their accomplishments from the historical record.#HighlightTheRemarkable
Way to reinforce bias, @Forbes. Your methodology rely on already gender-biased “criteria” such as media coverage(see: https://www.independent.co.uk/politics/media-gender-bias-experts-male-female-representation-research-a8462631.html …). Do better. https://twitter.com/erico/status/1170122683100479488 …Male experts still dominate the news – it’s time for some female voi…Four in five experts cited in online news are male, and research shows that excluding women’s perspectives could profoundly skew national conversationsindependent.co.ukEric Oesterle@ericoReplying to @cindygallop and 6 othersNot even a *photo* of Barbara Rentler, the only woman on Forbes’ list of (100+) America’s Most Innovative Leaders. Just a silhouette of some dude.15:45 AM – Sep 8, 2019 · Washington, DCTwitter Ads info and privacySee Elizabeth Hogan’s other Tweets

Valerie Jarrett@ValerieJarrett

Come on, @Forbes. If your methodology produced only one woman out of the 100 most innovative leaders, obviously you should have challenged it rather than publishing it. https://www.forbes.com/lists/innovative-leaders/ …America’s Most Innovative LeadersMeet today’s most creative business minds.forbes.com4,9717:04 AM – Sep 8, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy1,086 people are talking about this

Shannon E. French@SEFrench

This is infuriating. There was so much baked-in bias in their methodology, and they took no steps to correct it. It’s both offensive and incredibly shoddy work. @Forbes fail!

Forbes draws heat for its list of 100 innovators which includes just one woman https://twitter.com/i/events/1170488369844932608 …Forbes draws heat for its list of 100 innovators which includes just one woman49:40 AM – Sep 8, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacySee Shannon E. French’s other Tweets

Prof Michelle Ryan@shellkryan

Really? Out of 100 innovative leaders there is only 1 woman? If your methodology throws up such an imbalaced list, maybe it’s time to think about how you define innovation (and leadership). Do better @Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/lists/innovative-leaders/#52c77ec326aa …America’s Most Innovative LeadersMeet today’s most creative business minds.forbes.com22912:14 AM – Sep 8, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy83 people are talking about this

Beyond the lack of women, many pointed out that the list is filled with predominantly white men. 

“Seems only one woman, maybe one Black man, zero non-binary people in ‘America’s Most Innovative Leaders’ list,” founder and CEO of Pipeline Angels Natalia Oberti Noguera wrote. “Methodology’s flawed–these results don’t represent “the most creative and successful minds of today.’”

Natalia Oberti Noguera@nakisnakis

Seems only one woman, maybe one Black man, zero non-binary people in “America’s Most Innovative Leaders” list published by @Forbes presented by @HSBC.

Methodology’s flawed–these results don’t represent “the most creative and successful minds of today.”https://www.forbes.com/lists/innovative-leaders …America’s Most Innovative LeadersMeet today’s most creative business minds.forbes.com956:47 AM – Sep 6, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy46 people are talking about this

Arlan @ArlanWasHere

So this is kinda random but I just noticed that the three men who created that 99%-dude Forbes list have not been on Twitter since 2016, 2015, and 2014, respectively. And it’s a list about innovation. This makes me blink hard.5,0638:58 PM – Sep 6, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy894 people are talking about this

Herminia Ibarra@HerminiaIbarra

It’s worth learning from how the @Forbes “innovative leader” list ended up with only 1 woman on it, because that is how gender bias happens.

The list was derived using “objective,” quantified criteria. The aim was scientific. But, those criteria are highly subject to bias.1,2798:47 AM – Sep 7, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy318 people are talking about this

Global Mama · Sep 6, 2019Replying to @AnandWrites @Forbes

“2 male professors team up with male consultant to choose most innovative leaders.” How about Laurene Powell Jobs, Indra Nooyi, other female tech leaders, female social entrepreneurs????

zibi@zibijamal

Ginni Rometty, IBM!

The list is quite gobsmackingly terrible.2078:14 PM – Sep 6, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy19 people are talking about this

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