There Are Women on the Rise in the 2014 Power List

The proportion of women on the annual Power List remains at around 20 percent, but they’re gaining ground on the men.

Patricia Woertz, chief of the Archer Daniels Midland Company, in 2012   Photo: Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images

When the magazine’s editors gather each year to report on the Power 100, the goal is to reflect the city as it is, not as we would like it to be. Though women make up more than half the adult population, for example, their representation on the list has hovered at a mere 20 percent or so since its inception three years ago.

But take a closer look, and feminists will notice something encouraging. While several men on the 2013 list flamed out spectacularly (ex–UNO chief Juan Rangel, ex–Groupon CEO Andrew Mason) or simply forfeited power that was theirs for the taking (we’re looking at you, Bill Daley), 2013’s highest-ranking woman didn’t make the 2014 list for a different reason: She gained power. When Penny Pritzker became U.S. commerce secretary, she moved to Washington, D.C., thereby disqualifying herself from a list that includes just Chicago-area residents. If only she had realized.

Meanwhile, a newcomer has burst into the top 10: Patricia Woertz, chief of the Archer Daniels Midland Company. The agri-giant, with revenues of $90 billion, moves its headquarters here this year. So next time someone asks you who runs the biggest company in Chicago, you’ll be ready with the answer: a woman.

Elizabeth Fenner is the editor in chief of Chicago magazine.

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