UPDATED: 4 Suggestions for Forbes Following Its Radically Imbalanced 'Most Innovative Leaders' List

** UPDATE (9/10/2019): We’re pleased to have received a positive response from Forbes editor Randall Lane saying he would share our advice with the task force he has convened to quickly address the issue of lists. **


Dear Mr. Randall Lane,

We welcome your response to the lack of women on Forbes’ Most Innovative Leaders list.

We are not surprised by the tension in the room as you feted a diverse group of “Under 30” innovators in the midst of a well deserved barrage of criticism. What kind of messages do young leaders receive when they get celebrated in their own community but the world’s “Most Innovative Leaders” feature few who look like they do? What do you tell them about their future?

We at GenderAvenger have four suggestions for you and your team.

  1. When you are presented with lists with overwhelming numbers of men ask, “where are the women?”

  2. Understand that “women only” lists are not substitutes for inclusion. The Self-Made Richest Women belong on a list of Self-Made Richest People.

  3. Don’t let your methodology lead to “concern.” You write, “For all our carefully-calibrated methodology, women never had much of a chance here,” and this says it all. Examine such criteria as your special sauce — the “innovator’s premium” — which may have taken years to develop, but is based on a system created by patriarchy. Is this a system you at Forbes wish to perpetuate?

  4. Be sure that women are involved in the development of what you are listing and who you are listing. As far as we can tell, the creators of the Innovators list were all men. Was that true of the academics who were consulted as well? Gender balanced editorial oversight and research will make a difference.

You have great influence. Take some time to define the role of your “best of” lists. We look forward to and expect to hear about your future list strategies. We will be watching… and counting.


Gina Glantz
Founder, GenderAvenger