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America’s 10 Most Powerful Female CEOs

Women run the show at giant corporations, including 4 Dow stocks

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Women & DiversityLittle by little, women are stepping into a growing share of executive posts at major corporations.

And research suggests those corporations are better for it: Grant Thornton’s 2012 International Business Report says companies with more women on senior management teams or boards are likely to have higher stock growth and sales, as well as better returns on equity and invested capital.

Still, women constitute only one-fifth of senior-management roles globally, and only 1 in 10 businesses has a female CEO. Among Fortune 1000 companies, women currently hold only 39 CEO positions, according to Catalyst Research; however, four of those run Dow Jones Industrial Average components.

Here’s a look at the top 10 female CEOs of American companies based on Fortune‘s 2012 ranking of company size, limited to women named CEO by Dec. 31, 2011:

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