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Women gain seats on company boards of directors

November 12, 2015
Diversity & Inclusion

(BUSINESS WIRE) – Women continue to make gains in the boardrooms of Fortune 1000 companies according to 2020 Women on Boards’ just-released 2015 Gender Diversity Index (GDI). Women now hold 18.8% of board seats of GDI companies. The GDI has tracked the number of women on boards since 2011 using the Fortune 1000 list from 2010 as a baseline of comparison. This year, the GDI is comprised of 842 companies. Companies fall off the list each year due to sales, mergers, bankruptcies, and other variables.

2020 Women on Boards, the national campaign to increase the percentage of board seats held by women to 20% or greater by 2020, ranks companies on a “W” (Winning) to “Z” (Zero) scale. Winning “W” Companies have 20% or greater women on their boards; Very Close “V” have 11-19% women on their boards; Token “T” Companies have one woman; and, Zero “Z” Companies have no women. The rankings of close to 2000 companies are available in the 2020 Gender Diversity Directory.

Key findings of this year’s GDI report include:

  • Women now hold 18.8% of board seats, an increase from 17.7% in 2014 and 14.6% in 2011, the first year of reporting.
  • Women gained 75 board seats in 2015; an increase from 52 board seats gained in 2014.
  • The number of Winning “W” Companies (greater than 20%) has increased to 45%, compared with 40% last year. The number of Zero “Z” Companies (no women) continues to decline, to 9% this year, compared with 11% in 2014.
  • The percentage of women on boards has increased in all sectors, but five sectors have increased to over 20%: Consumer Defensive, Financial Services, Healthcare, Technology, and Utilities.

The GDI shows a slightly brighter picture when compared with companies on the current year Fortune 1000 list. Women held 17.9% of the board seats in the 2015 Fortune 1000 companies, compared with 16.9% of the board seats in 2014. Why the difference? The majority of new companies on the Fortune 1000 lists added are ranked F501-F1000. The research shows that smaller companies fare worse in their diversity efforts. The research also shows that companies that drop off the Index tend to have one or no women, which improves the GDI overall.

“There is a lot to celebrate at the halfway mark of our 10-year grassroots campaign to raise awareness of the benefits of gender diversity, but we have yet to create a corporate imperative for diversified boards,” said Stephanie Sonnabend, co-founder and chair 2020 Women on Boards. “I believe we will reach our goal of 20% or greater women on boards by the year 2020, but there is still much work to be done.”

“Our current research consistently shows that companies with gender diversity on their boards are more sustainable. These findings support the fact that having women in leadership roles and on compay boards makes good business sense,” said Malli Gero, president and co-founder, 2020 Women on Boards.

Source: 2020 Women on Boards

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