Women now hold record 22.6% of board seats in the U.S.

Business News | 23 Sep |

2020 Women on Boards (2020WOB), the national campaign to advance women to corporate boards of directors, announced that for the first time in history, women hold 22.6% of the board seats among the nation’s largest publicly-traded companies in the Russell 3000 Index, a 2.2 percentage increase from 20.4% in 2019, and a 6.5 percentage increase over four years.  

In recent years, women are gaining board seats at a faster rate, with Black and Asian/Pacific Islander women gaining seats in the Fortune 500 more rapidly than any other ethnic group or gender; however women of color still hold the fewest board seats.

“Companies that understand the business imperatives and benefits of women directors propelled us to this milestone. With the 2020 Gender Diversity Index in hand, we’re focused on initiatives to prepare women to advance into leadership roles to help more women, especially women of color, gain board positions,” noted co-founder and board chair Stephanie Sonnabend.

“Gender balance and diversity is not about checking off a box; it’s about equality and inclusion. To build more diverse boards, companies need to commit that their workforce, through leadership, and into the boardroom represent all backgrounds, which positively affect business culture, innovation, and performance,” said 2020WOB co-founder Malli Gero. “We’re pleased to see sustained progress, but we have a long way to go to achieve balanced boards.”

2020 key findings of the 2020WOB Gender Diversity Index Include:

• Women hold only 6,034 board seats of 26,711 of the 2,982 companies on the 2020 Russell 3000 list.

• Comparing 2020 to 2019, 2,966 companies were on the list for both years. Of those, 785 companies (about one fourth) added women directors in the past year.

• One-third of the Russell 3000 (1,064 companies) still have only one or no women on their boards. Of those, 157 companies (approx. 5% of the R3000), have none, and 907 companies (30%) have just one.

• 60% of the 902 female board seats gained this year were achieved by adding board seats, not by replacing male directors.

• Among the 25 states in the U.S. that now have more than 20 companies on the Russell 3000, all but two (Florida and Utah) exceeded the 20% goal for women on their boards this year, up from 17 states in 2019. The states that achieved more than 20% for the first time are Alabama, Colorado, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas.

Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire, CEO of 2020WOB added, “Our campaign plays an influential role in advancing women to the boardroom – not just in the United States but throughout the world. Diverse boards are better positioned to thrive in rapidly changing economic realities.”

The annual 2020WOB Gender Diversity Index will be available this fall at 2020WOB.com citing trends for the year, comparing the Russell 3000 corporations nationally, by state, industry sector, size, and the number of women on each board. 2020 Women on Boards analyzes data provided by Equilar to determine and report its annual findings.

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