More Women Take a Seat

In 2019, women made strides in their representation on corporate boards.
More Women Take a Seat

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:

2019 Gender Diversity Index Highlights

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.