Christie Hefner, daughter of Hugh Hefner, ascended to the top of Playboy Enterprises 13 years after she first started working there in 1975, and once she was at the helm of the Beverly Hills, Calif.-based media company she worked to elevate other women in the workplace.
"I was very fortunate because it was even harder for women to get ahead then and so, candidly, I capitalized on that and was able to attract incredibly talented women who felt they couldn't go any further in the companies they were working for," Hefner told TheStreet in a recent interview. "When I left [in January 2009] over 40% of my executives were women."
In the 1980s, as Hefner rose through the ranks of the company her father founded, becoming CEO in 1988, she thought that by now women would be equally represented in the boardroom, but that's far from the case. Presently, women make up about 22% of S&P 500 boards and there are just 28 female S&P 500 CEOs, according to BoardEx, a relationship mapping service of TheStreet Inc. Five companies within the index still don't have a woman on their boards.
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"It's both troubling and disappointing to be where we are," said Hefner.