Women in Procurement: Are We Winning the Battle, only to Seemingly Lose the War?


Let’s support Women Procurement Leaders. No really support them.

It’s three steps forward and ten steps back. Just when you think women are starting to get ahead in the workplace and within procurement, you’re hit with the truth.

We’ve won some battles; but, the bigger picture is that we’re still losing the war. 

I made the mistake of trying to find articles about other women leaders in procurement and trying to find inspiration since I hadn’t written a blog for #WSW in awhile. So last night I decided to do some research on top women CPOs, organizations and just general information.

Unfortunately, it turns out my google search bar is a sexist 65-year-old bald, white man who thinks it’s 1955 and women should still be in the kitchen. I went from denial to shock and then about to stroke out in all about 5 minutes flat.

That’s only the beginning…

Between women leaders, procurement and CPO mixed as search terms, I was astonished at my results. The top results were all articles that started with ‘Happy International Women’s Day.’ Um, what?

You’re telling me that for Woman CPO to be recognized, they had to wait for an International Women’s Day?  My blood boiled. Yet, I continued to read through some of the articles I thought might be useful.

Don’t get me wrong.  I appreciate the support for International Women’s Day. I really do.  But what I don’t appreciate, is the fact that google has moved these to the top of search due to SEO. Women + CPOs = International Women’s Day?

My blood returned to a simmer, but then I read a blog post from Zycus – Women in Procurement. It started well enough, even gave kudos saying:

“Research has shown that women have a natural and unique skill set that is specifically beneficial for procurement management: they are better at multitasking, better at emotional intelligence and a preset ability to motivate and leverage teams to compete projects.”

Amazing show of support, right? That’s where things went sideways. They ended the article by letting us know that:

“Perhaps a Super CPO can be a woman too!”

I wanted to slap the perhaps out of their mouth. Because of course we can. Please don’t patronize us.

Check out more #WSW here: Link 


Procurement Leaders’ 2017 Salary Survey found that women represent only 23% of procurement directors and just 12% of CPOs.


Then I saw this gem. Despite being from 2011, the inherent lack of diversity is astounding. To start, I see a total of one or two women in the crowd.

Which is fine, but… the picture below also makes you assume the top CPOs in the world are all men. As it turns out, number three is Leslie Campbell of Reed Elsevier….so, wherein the heck is she?

The only Woman CPO Globally ranked, and she’s nowhere to be found. That’s where.

Unless… this is a new edition of Where’s Waldo of Women CPOs. Maybe. Or maybe she’s hiding behind the other three men who are front and center, or wait – maybe they just forgot about her. The point is, I’m not sure there is much of a difference.


An Accident? Maybe. Irritating? Extremely.

But that’s okay, am I right? It’s not like the credit she’s due comes from this picture alone. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of others completely dismissing me or not having representation, especially when it’s a culmination of a career accomplishment.


It’s not like they forgot your surprise toy in a McDonald’s happy meal. And that’s one of the reasons why we may not be as far along as we thought. Yes, she made it to the top three and won that battle, only to be forgotten and lose the war to be represented. And I’m pretty sure it was the exact moment I felt I that I might stroke out.

Then I started to see an improvement for Women in Procurement…


Excellent – a blog specifically for women in procurement! They even started a group called Bravo to support women in the industry. Then my excitement simmered.

Call it bad timing (the last post was in Apr. 2019), but to have the very first blog be a man telling me what we can do about sexual harassment, with a “hey sexy” post-it note? I cringed a little. Only to be followed by an article that starts with – Happy International Women’s Day. 

Sigh. Unfortunately, there were only 4 blogs in 2019 and 3 in 2018. When I searched to learn more about the ‘Bravo’ group, there were no postings since 2018. It left me thinking:

What happened?

I will say I’m grateful we are no longer in the days my of ‘you must be the secretary’ or ‘why aren’t you at home in the kitchen.’ At least not to our faces anymore.

I can more than fully appreciate what my mother’s generation they had to endure to get us to this point.


For the women who were ahead of their time, we are grateful. And you inspire us to do more!

Women in Procurement: Are We Winning the Battle, only to Seemingly Lose the War? 1

I’m no exception. This article is only my 4th blog for #WSW that accounts for <10% of my total. Therefore, I’m doing my best to take the first step forward and keep it front of mind. And I’m pretty sure that’s what happened with procurious. Sometimes the best intentions fall off of our radar’s.

We must stop and make a change to support other women.


Push the boundaries even further. And take over the C-Suite. Or follow the lead of the women in the UK/Australia who seem to have it down. Their conferences look A-MA-ZING!

Statistically, we’re still lagging in 2019. Probably supported by the fact that procurement/Sourcing is typically a male-dominated industry. And that’s the primary reason I write these blogs. I want to do everything I can to help support the change not only for Women in Procurement but for ANY industry.

To say it’s a marathon is an understatement. For women, our fight closer to completing an Ironman (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and then a 26.2-mile marathon).  When men need to do half of the actual marathon, it’s a hell of a head-start.

If we’ve only got 24 hours to finish the race, let’s make sure we make it to the finish line together!

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