March 2022 Report Summary
As we move into 2022 the march towards parity continues. Women are rising in numbers and in representation in the boardroom. Women hold 27% of all board seats in 2021, up from 24% in 2020—the largest year-over-year increase among the Russell 3000 and far above the Russell 3000’s average annual increase of 2.14% for women on boards. Over 30 companies reached parity on their boards. In March women comprised 40.7% of new appointments to the boards of public companies. Public companies appointed 144 women to boards and 209 men to their boards.
We are very excited to announce the release of our annual ‘Women Leading Boards’ report, with 50/50 Women on Board. The report contains collective data and insight from our 23 organizations focused on advancing women and diversity boards and we are elated to say that we are the only industry tracker for appointees across the Fortune 500, S&P 500, Russell 3000, and private companies. The report shows that 2021 was a watershed year for board diversity, with women representing 42.5% of all new appointees for public companies in the U.S. in 2021.
While only 39 of the newly appointed women Board members (27% of new women appointments) chose to self-disclose their race, we continue to see increased diversification within this set. In March, Black/African American women take the lead in board appointments again with 21 women being appointed to public boards, making up 14.5% of the newly appointed women. They are closely followed by 14 Asian/Pacific Islander women, 2 Middle Eastern / North African women, 1 Latin / Hispanic woman, and 1 Mulit-Racial woman. The Home Depot, Inc., Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., and Signature Bank, are some of the companies that appointed this phenomenal group of diverse women to their boards.
Of the 144 women appointed the boards of public companies, 82 or 57% were first time board appointments, a substantially higher percentage compared to previous months. Thus, the trend to build the pipeline and number of women on boards continues. In March, Healthcare companies led the way in the appointment of women followed by Financial Services companies and Consumer Cyclical; with women appointed filling 24.3% of board seats at healthcare companies. In the Consumer Cyclical sector, we see strides being made by women at companies like Lulu’s Fashion Lounge Holdings, Inc. and Marriott International, Inc.
Equilar and WBC are tracking and analyzing the growth and rotation of board seats on public companies and the expanding candidate pool. We will continue to track not only the women in terms of numbers, diversity and profile; but the companies and industries in which female board members are present and how many of the overall board seats are held by women. Please, join us in celebrating, tracking, analyzing, and promoting women serving on corporate boards.