NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Only five companies of the 41 tech companies on the Fortune 500 list can say they are in the technology sector and have a female CEO -- that's an improvement.
For years critics have slammed Silicon Valley for its underrepresentation of women, and Ellen Pao's dramatic departure from Reddit last week, paired with the dismissal and resignation of two other top female employees at Reddit, has thrown the topic back into headlines.
"The company is growing, and we have the opportunity to improve in many areas -- including the number of women in leadership positions," new Reddit CEO Steve Huffman said to Re/code, when asked if the company had a gender discrimination issue. "I am confident in our ability to recruit women at the executive level, as we have made a point to do so at Hipmunk, where more than half of the executives are women."
Even though several of world's largest tech companies are actively trying to hire more female employees, they are still struggling to include women in the fast-growing sector, with the tech companies averaging just 30% of their staffers as female.
In its recent diversity report, Facebook (FB) announced only 32% of all its employees are female, with just 23% of its senior leadership roles belonging to women. These numbers practically matched the ones the company released last year. Yahoo! (YHOO) announced slightly better numbers with 37% of its staff female, but once again only 24% of its leadership were female, including CEO Marissa Mayer.
Apple (AAPL) reflects similar gender breakdowns as its fellow tech companies. At the time of the demographics release, CEO Tim Cook wrote in a post on the company's Web site, "As CEO, I'm not satisfied with the numbers on this page."
This is not to say that there aren't prominent females within these companies' boardrooms.
Sheryl Sandberg became Facebook's chief operating officer in 2008, leaving behind her vice president role at Google (GOOG) (GOOGL). Sandberg is known for her strong stance on women's rights, with her New York Times bestseller Lean In rigorously diving into the topic. Amy Hood became chief financial officer for Microsoft (MSFT) in 2013, making her the company's first ever female CFO. Apple counts three females among its executive leadership -- Lisa Jackson, vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives; Angela Ahrendts, senior vice president of retail; and Denise Young Smith, vice president of worldwide human resources.
But the disappointing fact is women still struggle to reach the top spot at many of these tech giants. Of Forbes' list of the world's 10 most valuable brands, of which Apple is ranked number one, only IBM (IBM) has a female CEO.
So here are eight female tech CEOs leading the way for many more women to come, we hope:
Lucy Peng -- Ant Financial
Lucy Peng is one of Alibaba's (BABA) most powerful female executives, as the Chief People Officer as well as heading the group's standalone financial services unit, Ant Financial. Ant Financial, which targets individuals and small businesses, reportedly serves more than 400 million active users.
Alibaba didn't respond to requests for comment, but the Chinese e-commerce group has often been credited for its inclusiveness of women, with a third of its founding partners female.