7 Facts about Baby Boomer Women & Over 40 Female Leaders

The statistics below about women in leadership were surprising.  Women, including many wealthy women who’ve earned their money themselves, are now entering politics, becoming university presidents and taking on roles as power brokers.

Women born between 1945 and 1965…

1.  …hold nearly half of all executive, managerial, and administrative jobs in the United States (2010)

2.  …comprise as much as 40 percent of the field in Ironman Triathlons. Significant numbers of women between the ages of 45 and 49 compete in this grueling event of endurance and strength. (Paul Huddle, Multisports.com, Encinitas, CA.)

3.  Control 4 trillion in annual consumer spending. ($4,000,000,000,000)  (2010 numbers). Women over 50 are becoming super consumers controlling nearly 75% of USA wealth

4.  Buy 2 out of every 3 cars.  (So many sales people still focus on the male’s point of view, and think women are interested only in heating controls and vanity mirrors)

5.  Control 51.3% of all the personal wealth in the country in 2010. In 2015, that rose to nearly 75% as women over 50 become super consumers


Ellen Galinsky, 2016, Detail, by New America, Flickr-cc

6.  Influence 95% of all US consumer spending, and make up 85% of all consumer buying.

7.  Women initiate 74% of all new business start-ups in the US. 39 start-ups initiated by women in 2015 are listed here.



Source: data as listed in the the Women’s Information Network (2010), 2015 data from DMN3 Institute 



Exceptional Women Leaders Define Success

Executive female leaders share themes in the chart below that feature their common strategies in managing work, life and community connection.  Positive themes in this chart include being results and other-focused in developing positive change in the business, mentoring and encouraging generative actions by those reporting to them.  (2014)




both well-known and lesser known include:

Angela Merkel, photo by Philipp – Flickr CC

  • Angela Merkel, the longest-serving leader in the European Union, (2017)

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, painting detail, photo by Deb Nystrom

  • Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina justice, the third female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court breaking gender and racial barriers
  • Caroline Boudreaux, Founder, Miracle Foundation, transforms struggling, institutional orphanages in the developing world into stable, loving, nurturing homes (formerly with KTBC FOX 7)
  • Oprah Winfrey, an American media business owner, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist
  • Lauren Bacall, who taught Humphrey Bogart how to whistle, went back to Broadway at the age of seventy-six. As she put it, “I’m not a has-been. I’m a will-be.”
  • Golda Meir was sworn in as Israel’s premier at seventy
  • Geraldine Laybourne left a top job at Disney/ABC Cable Television and, at age 51, started Oxygen Media, an innovative network and the first completely owned and controlled by women.

via Forbes’ lists of 40 Women Over 40 and  the Women’s Information Network

From Deb’s Change Leadership Watch newsletter, view MAKERs, a documentary about the history & progress of the women’s movement highlights what is happening with women past and present. The stories include: 

“…well-known women leaders like Condoleezza RiceSheryl Sandberg, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg alongside lesser-known women with powerful stories like Brenda Berkman, the first NYC firefighter, and Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston marathon.”

Female Runner runner in the 3000m women’s steeplechase at the Doha Athletics Super Grand Prix – by “the apostrophe” ~ Flickr CC


Find out more. Continue the conversation with Deb, on LinkedIn or contact Deb here.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

This post was originally posted in 2010, updated in 2017:

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