Sector News

Female executives aren’t making it into the boardroom

March 7, 2016
Diversity & Inclusion

Women are increasingly making it into corporate C-suites, but a glass ceiling is keeping them out of boardrooms.

Of the 8,517 women that are C-level corporate officers at 5,000 U.S. public companies, only 14%, or 1,191, sit on a corporate board, according to a new study by research firm Equilar Inc and the U.S. 30% Club.

“These startling figures expose flaws in the assertion that there are not enough qualified women available for board service,” said Equilar in its report.

By comparison, there are 81,200 male executives at the companies studied, and 17%, or 13,830, sit in board seats.

The firm’s study found that about 80% of the 788 female CEOs in its sample have board experience. Of the 1,815 women in CFO or financial executive roles, under 25% have served as directors.

Navient Corp., a Wilmington, Del.-based company that services and collects on student loans, was the only company with more women than men on its board. It has seven female board members and six men.

“Our goal is to find candidates with broad experience who bring specific areas of expertise and bring greater diversity to the board,” said a Navient spokeswoman.

Others with high female representation include luxury fashion accessory designer Michael Kors Holdings Ltd., which has four women on its eight-person board, and make-up manufacturer Estee Lauder Cos., with seven women and eight men on its board.

Equilar’s findings track broadly with those from a similar study late last year by New York-based law firm Shearman & Sterling LLP. That study of 100 large U.S. companies found that women fill slightly more than a fifth of the 1,210 board seats in 2015, only slightly higher than in 2013.

By Vipal Monga

Source: Wall Street Journal

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