THE YEAR 2019 was a good one for gender diversity—at least where
women’s representation on corporate boards was concerned, according
to the 2019 Gender Diversity Index. The report, released annually over
the last ten years, is compiled by 2020 Women on Boards (2020WOB).
The organization examines data from the Russell 3000 Index (R3000),
which tracks the 3,000 largest publicly held U.S. companies.
2020WOB’s analysis reveals that last year women filled a record-
high percentage of corporate board seats at R3000 companies.
Moreover, the number of companies where at least 20 percent of
seats are held by women—which 2020WOB refers to as Winning companies—
increased by 9 percent. The organization also found that 64
percent of companies that added women directors did so by increasing
the size of their boards. Here are other highlights from the report:
California saw the biggest jump in the number of Winning companies—
236 in 2019, compared to 168 in 2018. 2020WOB speculates
that this gain could be “the direct result of the historic legislation
requiring companies in the state to diversify their boards.” Nevada
saw the biggest increase in the percentage of seats held by women,
moving up to 20.6 percent in 2019 from 14.9 percent in 2018.
Last year’s gains promise to continue into 2020, says Stephanie
Sonnabend, 2020WOB’s co-founder. “Educational and advocacy
programs are having an extremely positive effect on corporate boards
and their succession planning,” she notes. “Thousands of women are
learning … how to navigate their own careers toward corporate boards.