Women in Numbers: April 2017

Facts and figures on females from throughout the world.

By April Cumming, Illustrations by Jessica Wetterer

$350 Million Net Worth     

As employee No. 16 at Google—and with a net worth estimated at $350 million—Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube, a division of Google, was named No. 8 on Forbes’ list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women. Back in Google’s early years, before the funny-sounding noun became a verb, the search-engine monolith rented out Wojcicki’s Menlo Park, Calif., garage as its first office headquarters. In 2006, Wojcicki encouraged her bosses to make the jump to acquire what is now the second-most-used social-media outlet in the world, YouTube. The company bought the site for $1.65 billion, a purchase that more than paid off. In 2017, YouTube’s value has skyrocketed to $70 billion, making Wojcicki one of the most powerful women on the internet. 

5 Legos      
Science writer Maia Weinstock’s idea to commemorate the contributions of five NASA women in Lego form is soon to be a reality. Lego, the company known for miniaturizing the likenesses of everyone from superheroes to construction workers, approved Weinstock’s proposal after the idea garnered more than 10,000 supporters on the Lego Ideas hub. In late February, Lego unveiled the caricature designs for Margaret Hamilton, a famed NASA computer scientist; Katherine Johnson, a mathematician for NASA; Sally Ride, the incomparable first woman in space; Nancy Grace Roman, one of the first female executives at NASA; and Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space. 

18.4 Percent of Seats       
According to the Alliance for Board Diversity, a new study shows that, in 2016, African-American women increased their number of boardroom seats at Fortune 500 companies by 18.4 percent, compared with a 2 percent increase in seats held by African-American men. A report from the Harvard Business Review noted that, in addition to bringing diverse perspectives to the table, companies with more female powerhouses in the boardroom typically perform better than their peers. In 2016, Fortune 500 companies that ranked high in boardroom diversity numbers reported a greater return on sales and a higher return on equity than their peers. Though women and minorities currently represent 31 percent of boardroom seats at Fortune 500 companies, the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimates it could take as long as four decades before equal representation in the boardroom in achieved. 

1/3 of New Drivers 
A Time survey released last year found that the number of women driving for ride-share company Uber was on the rise, with women accounting for nearly one-third, or 29 percent, of its new-driver sign-ups. According to Uber, a likely factor of the rise is the flexibility of the job, allowing drivers to pick up riders when it fits their schedules. These findings come after years of notoriously low female-representation rates in the cab industry. (A 2014 New York City taxicab report found that 99 percent of the city’s Yellow Cab drivers were men.) Uber bucked convention in 2015 when the startup pledged to have 1 million women providing rides through its platform by 2020. 

1 Million Women  
Alaina Percival wants to connect 1 million women to technology by 2019. Her game plan to get there depends, in large part, on the reach of her nonprofit, Women Who Code. It wasn’t until the age of 34, after quitting her job in the brand-management industry and moving from Atlanta to San Francisco, that Percival first taught herself how to code. After picking up Chris Pine’s book Learn to Program, she started attending tech conferences and coding workshops, and quickly saw how underrepresented females are in the field. As a response, in 2010, she created a meet-up group specifically designated for women to network, learn how to code and collaborate. “Tech is a great place for women to be. It is the future of every industry,” Percival told Cosmopolitan during an interview. Seven years since its inception, Women Who Code now hosts more than 500 gatherings throughout the U.S. each year.