According to the recently updated Equilar Gender Diversity Index, the presence of women on public company boards is improving, albeit at a slow pace.
The Equilar Gender Diversity Index (GDI) was initiated earlier this year to provide quarterly updates on the prevalence of females on Russell 3000 company boards of directors.
Why a quarterly report when most information from a publicly traded company is only updated annually?
Equilar suggests that the issue is extremely timely, given the increasing number of calls by investors and stakeholders for board diversity. David Chun, founder and CEO of Equilar has said, “Because most research studies on board composition are a lagging measurement of what’s already happened, we believe that providing a quarterly, real-time update with forward-looking analysis will bring attention to this issue.”
In January 2017, the Equilar Gender Diversity Index (GDI) announced that, at its current pace, boards of directors for Russell 3000 companies will not reach full gender parity until the fourth quarter of 2055. Just as significantly, 738 percent of Russell 3000 boards of directors, as of December 2016, had no women on the board at all.
Which Russell 3000 Company Boards Show Strong Gender Parity?
Currently five Boards of Directors at Russell 3000 companies are comprised of more women than men. Tootsie Roll Industries, Inc. has four board members, three of whom are women. On the board for Connecticut Water Service, Inc., five of the eight board members are women.
At Williams-Sonoma, Inc., and at American Water Works Company, Inc., women claim five of the nine seats on each board, while at both Navient Corp and Tenga, Inc., six of the eleven seats belong to women. Fifteen other companies show a 50/50 mix of males and female board members.
Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup Co has suggested the need to create a pipeline of diverse director candidates, and observes that boards of non-profit companies are an excellent training ground. The U.S. military, nonprofit boards, and corporate subsidiaries have all been suggested as potential “launching pads” for developing and identifying female directors.
You can learn more about the Equilar Gender Diversity Index here: