Female CEOs are at record level in 2016, but it's still only 5%

Melinda Gates: We need 'more diverse teams'
Melinda Gates: We need 'more diverse teams'

Beyonce's dream is coming true: More and more girls "run the world."

America hit a milestone in 2016: The most female CEOs ever. There are now 27 women at the helm of S&P 500 companies.

The good news is it's a new record for women in business, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. It's also 22% more -- a big jump -- from last year, when only 22 women led S&P 500 companies.

But women still have a long way to go.

Females lead only 27 out of 500 (or just 5.4%) of America's largest publicly traded companies (known as the S&P 500). And that's after all the efforts to draw attention to the gender gap and promote female leaders by celebrities like Beyonce and Lena Dunham and Facebook (FB) COO Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In" movement.

"The overall numbers are up, but they're still quite small," says Pavle Sabic, a director at S&P Global Market Intelligence and author of a new study on the CEO Gender Gap in the U.S. and Europe.

Related: 'I like money': Meet the new women of Wall Street

Women now lead companies in just about all sectors. American females have made big gains in recent months in energy and utilities, sectors typically dominated by men.

Patricia Kampling heads up Alliant Energy (LNT), a company that has grown so large that it was added to the S&P 500 in June. Vicki Hollub was named CEO of Occidental Petroleum (OXY) in April, and Patricia Poppe became CEO of CMS Energy (CMS) in July. Kampling says she became fascinated by energy as a kid when she lived through a massive blackout in New York City in 1965.

All three women have degrees in engineering and have worked their way up the corporate ladder. It's an important breakthrough for female CEOs, who traditionally were found mainly in the beauty and retail sector.

Sandberg released a report this week saying America is still decades away from gender equality at work. Even if the U.S. continued to add 5 new female CEOs ever year, it would take nearly 45 years for gender parity in the C-suite.

Related: Sheryl Sandberg: Women need to mentor each other

Here are the female CEOs of America's 500 largest companies (listed in order of tenure)

1. Debra Cafaro of Ventas (VTR)

2. Irene Rosenfeld of Mondelez International (MDLZ)

3. Indra Nooyi of Pepsico (PEP)

4. Ursula Burns of Xerox (XRX)

5. Denise Morrison of Campell Soup (CPB)

6. Beth Mooney of KeyCorp (KEY)

7. Debra Reed of Sempra Energy (SRE)

8. Garcia Martore of TEGNA (TGNA)

9. Patricia Kampling of Alliant Energy (LNT)

10. Virginia Romnetty of IBM (IBM)

11. Heather Bresch of Mylan (MYL)

12. Marissa Mayer of Yahoo! (YHOO)

13. Margaret Whitman of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)

14. Lynn Good of Duke Energy (DUK)

15. Phebe Novakovic of General Dynamics (GD)

16. Marillyn Hewson of Lockheed Martin (LMT)

17. Mary Dillon of ULTA (ULTA)

18. Mary Barra of General Motors (GM)

19. Safra Catz of Oracle (ORCL)

20. Susan Cameron of Reynolds American (RAI)

21. Barbara Rentler of Ross Stores (ROST)

22. Susan Story of American Water Works (AWK)

23. Margaret Keane of Synchrony Financial (SYF)

24. Patricia Poppe of CMS Energy (CMS)

25. Vicki Hollub of Occidental Petroleum (OXY)

26. Tricia Griffith of Progressive Corp. (PGR)

27. Shira Goodman of Staples (SPLS)

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