While the number of women on boards continues to grow, representation still falls short among companies on the S&P 500 (26 percent women), Fortune 500 (22.5 percent women) and the Russel 3000 (20.4 percent women). This brief provides an overview of why getting more women on boards is a passionate focus for WBC.
Why focus on boards?
Despite recent gains in the boardroom, women’s representation still has a long way to go.
- More than one-quarter (26%) of S&P 500 board directors are women according to the 2019 Spencer Stuart Board Index. there are no all- male boards in the S&P 500; however the representation of women on S&P 500 boards continues to be low at 2.8 women directors compared to 1.7 a decade ago (2009); women of color constituted 10% of new board members in 2019 (Catalyst)
- Women are also under-represented on the Fortune 500 boards at 22.5% as of 5/19, though 183 of the 462 newly appointed board seats in the prior year were women (40%) (Heidrick and Struggles 2019 Board Monitor)
- The percentage of 2018 F500 board seats occupied by African American women was 3%; Asian Pacific Islanders, 1.3%; and Hispanic women, 0.8% (Catalyst 2018 Board Diversity Census of Women)
- The average number of corporate board seats held by women in the Russell 3000 stands at 20.4 % as of 11 /19 (2020 Women on Boards 2019 Gender Diversity Index)
- 41% of Russell 3000 companies have one or no women on their boards (2020 Women on Boards 2019 Gender Diversity Index)
So what can we do? We’ve partnered with an incredible group of organizations to drive change: 2020 Women on Boards; C200; Catalyst; Latino Corporate Directors Association (LCDA); National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD); Network of Executive Women (NEW); The Executive Leadership Council (ELC); theBoardlist; Thirty Percent Coalition; U.S. 30% Club; Women Corporate Directors; Women for Economic and Leadership Development (WELD); Women in the Boardroom; Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO)
Together, we will focus on disseminating information on board membership criteria, create a robust database of existing and prospective female board members, and share public advocacy aimed at accelerating the advancement of women on boards.
We believe that through these actions we can see:
- 30% of the Fortune and S&P 500 and Russell 3000 board seats are held by women by 2025; 40% by 2030
- 10% of the 35% (per above) are women of color by 2025; 25% by 2030