- Take Action
2020 Women on Boards: Advocacy group aims to diversify corporate boardsThe Bay State Banner September 16, 2014
The advocacy group, 2020 Women on Boards, was founded in Boston in 2010. The following year it became a national organization. Four years later, the nonprofit continues blazing a trail for gender equality on corporate boards.
As part of their extensive research into corporate America, 2020 Women on Boards produces a directory that helps consumers and investors to evaluate a corporation based on the percentage of women on its board. A company given a “W” rating is a Winner with 20 percent or higher female board members. “V” stands for Very close to the target 20 percent. “T” means that the corporate board has one Token woman. “Z” is for Zero.
The cofounders, Malli Gero and Stephanie Sonnabend took action to change what they saw as unsatisfactorily slow progress in the number of women on corporate boards. Using education, grassroots advocacy and social and traditional media, for their campaign, they have been successful in adding gender diversity to the criteria for corporate governance best practices. Malli Gero, cofounder and executive director, recently shared her wisdom with Banner Biz.
Working Mother names Lilly to its 100 Best Companies list for 20 yearsPR Newswire/Eli Lilly September 16, 2014
Working Mother magazine has named Eli Lilly and Company as one of its Working Mother 100 Best Companies 20 years in a row. In observance of the honor, Lilly is planning a series of digital and employee initiatives.
Working Mother annually honors companies for outstanding leadership in establishing policies, programs and a corporate culture that supports working mothers, including child care, flexible work arrangements, paid parental leave and advancement of women. "The Working Mother 100 Best Companies are the leaders in the advancement of women by supporting their need to integrate family and work successfully. We are thrilled to honor the U.S. companies that put words into action and build family-friendly cultures on the foundation of thoughtful policies and effective programs. Women now make up 50% of our workforce. We need to make sure they have the support to be outstanding moms as well as great employees," said Carol Evans, president, Working Mother Media.
Online campaign launches todayLilly's Chief Diversity Officer Monique Hunt McWilliams, who is a working mother of two, said that the achievement is a great time to put the spotlight on the contributions of women in the workplace and the programs that support them as part of an extensive Women@Lilly campaign.
This Woman’s Work: A Labor Day SaluteCalvert News & Commentary September 3, 2014
This Labor Day, we tip our hats to working women. More and more women are gainfully employed around the world, and the benefits to them and to their communities are widely documented. Yet even though women have access to the labor market as never before, they are far from enjoying parity with men in such areas as pay, upward mobility, and more. With expanding global initiatives to rectify this situation, though, the working woman’s time may finally have come.
Over the last few decades, women have joined the workforce at a staggering pace. In the United States, women’s participation in the labor force has increased by 78% since 1948, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, researchers at the International Monetary Fund (PDF) have found that women still only represent about 40% of the global labor force, even as they represent more than half the population as a whole. By the researchers’ estimates, the global economy has left 27% of potential GDP growth per capita on the table, simply as a result of the gender gap in the labor market.
Tampon Companies Still Boys’ Club At Executive LevelRing of Fire July 21, 2014
A new article from The Huffington Post and Catalyst, an organization aimed at boosting women in business, shows that there is a glaring lack of women in executive positions, even at companies whose products are specifically marketed towards women. In the article, HuffPo and Catalyst looked at 19 companies that cater mostly to women, including “makeup purveyors, department stores, large-scale consumer goods manufacturers and women-focused clothing companies.” Just one company on their list, Avon, had a board of directors made up of mostly women.
“The situation is similarly dismal,” says the article, “when it comes to the companies’ executive teams or the so-called C-Suite of leaders who make the major business and product decisions at large companies. Out of all the companies, just J.C. Penney has a senior leadership team that’s majority women.” The lack of women in leadership roles at these companies might help explain the failure of marketing campaigns for products used predominantly by women. The author uses a popular depilatory cream as an example.
Women make gains in Md. board roomsThe Washington Post July 6, 2014
Maryland has fewer companies, and therefore board seats, than it used to, but more of those seats are filled by women. According to Network 2000 Inc.’s 2014 Census of Women Board Directors in Maryland, women filled 86 board of director positions in the state in 2013, compared to 73 in 2012.
“That’s a movement we love to see,” said Katherine Bays Armstrong, president of Network 2000. “I would like to believe it’s because companies are recognizing now the importance of including and increasing the women’s presence.” The total number of board seats in the state actually declined by 37 in 2013 to 646, so the percentage of seats held by women increased from 10.7 percent to 13.3 percent. That’s the greatest percentage increase that Network 2000 has seen in a single year since it began surveying companies in 2008.
5 Influential women standing up for gender equality in the U.S.SheKnows June 19, 2014
Stephanie Sonnabend and Malli Gero work together for gender equality with the 2020 Women on Boards campaign. The goal of this grassroots effort is to "increase the percentage of women on U.S. company boards to 20 percent or greater by the year 2020." Sitting on two boards herself, Stephanie Sonnabend, a magna cum laude Harvard graduate, was frustrated with the small number of women on boards in comparison to men. When starting the organization with Malli Gero, a public relations consultant and active women's leadership activist, the women had no idea the momentum they were to gain on this previously untouched issue. Already making a large impact, the 2020 Women on Boards campaign has already seen a 1-2 percent increase from 2012 to 2013.
Aberdeen Asset Management CIO wins 100 WHF 2014 European Industry Leadership AwardHedgeweek June 10, 2014
Anne Richards, chief investment officer of Aberdeen Asset Management, will be presented the 100 Women in Hedge Funds (100WHF) 2014 European Industry Leadership Award at its London Gala in October 2014.
Executives to focus on gender equality at eventThe Boston Globe June 10, 2014
The effort to put working women on an equal footing with men continues to gain steam in Massachusetts, with 140 business leaders planning to meet at MIT Wednesday to discuss closing the gender wage gap and increasing the number of women on corporate boards. The event, called “Clearing the Path, ” will focus on making executives aware of the inequities and having them share ways to overcome them, organizers say — making the state more competitive. The gathering is sponsored by the Cambridge-based Alliance for Business Leadership, a group of executives and investors working to promote economic growth.
“We are, I’m convinced, as a nation and as a Commonwealth, in the midst of one of the great global competitive environments in world history,” said Governor Deval Patrick, who is attending the gathering along with Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “If we’re going to win, and I like to win, we need all the players on the field, and we need them to be ready and capable of competing, and that means you’ve got to take account of all the talent.”
Corporate boards in S.C. lack gender diversityCharleston Regional Business Journal June 2, 2014
Nearly half of the publicly traded companies headquartered in South Carolina do not have any women on their boards of directors. According to a recent College of Charleston study, “20% by 2020: Women on Boards,” 20 of the 43 public companies based in South Carolina have no female board members. Those companies are referred to as “Zero” companies in the study. The study reports 14 “Token” companies, meaning they have one woman on their boards. At three companies, women constitute between 11% and 19% of board members — referred to as “Very Close.” Only six companies in the state are considered “Winners,” meaning 20% or more of their board members are women. The study focused on public companies because board information for private companies is not always available to the public.
Elise Perrault, a professor at the College of Charleston’s School of Business who spearheaded the statewide study, said she was surprised by the number of boards without women in South Carolina, compared with the Northeast. She said societal pressure to include different genders and races makes boards there diverse. “The finger is publicly pointed at those firms for not including women. They are seen almost as illegitimate. ... You can’t monitor management the way you need to if you don’t have diversity,” Perrault said. “There’s no checks and balances of conflict.” A group of educators and businesspeople across the country wants to increase the percentage of women on U.S. company boards to at least 20% by 2020. The 2020 Women on Boards coalition works nationally to push for increases.
Economic Outlook from the Boardroom – Perspectives from Women of the BoardCouncil for Economic Education May 30, 2014
On May 13, CEE held another exciting discussion in the Vantage Point series, covering the Economic Outlook from the Boardroom: Perspectives from Women of the Board. Held over breakfast at the Harvard Club of New York, an esteemed panel of leaders shared their insight and their own personal experience while discussing the challenges of women in the boardroom and beyond.
Few Women and Minorities Make it to S&P 100 Board Rooms, Executive SuitesAmerican Diversity Report May 30, 2014
Standard and Poor’s (S&P) 100 companies have made some progress on corporate diversity from 2010 to 2013, but these large-capitalization companies are still failing to put substantial numbers of women and minorities into board rooms and executive suites, according to a new analysis from Calvert Investments.
Based on the 10 diversity criteria in the Calvert report, the overall highest-rated companies are:
Citigroup Inc.; Merck & Co., Inc.; The Coca-Cola Co.; and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (Eleven companies tied for fifth place.) The five lowest-rated companies are: Berkshire Hathaway; Simon Property Group; National Oilwell Varco Inc.; Ebay; and Apache Corp.
Malli Gero of 2020 Women on Boards wants women to rise to the topBizwomen May 15, 2014
Frustrated by the lack of women on the corporate boards of U.S. companies and seeing that their numbers were stagnating, Malli Gero and Stephanie Sonnabend formed 2020 Women on Boards as a call to action. Gero, who is executive director, and Sonnabend, who is chair, created the nonprofit organization in 2010 to raise the percentage of women on U.S. corporate boards to 20 percent or more by 2020. The trend so far shows some slow but steady gains. In its latest survey, the group found that the percentage of board seats held by women in its index of companies, based on the Fortune 1000 list of companies, rose to 16.6 percent in 2013, up from 15.6 percent in 2012 and 14.6 percent in 2011, the first year of the index.
2020 Women on Boards conducts research on gender composition on boards and maintains a database of public and private companies categorized by how well they're meeting the 2020 goal. It rates companies as “W," or winning, for achieving a 20 percent rate; “V” for very close if a company has 11 to 19 percent women, “T” for token if there is only one woman; and “Z” for zero if there are no women at all.
The organization then applauds companies that land on the “W” list for at least three straight years by naming them an “Honor Roll” company. It also spotlights companies it says have done the most to diversify their boards. Among those are Internet company Akamai, investment management company Calvert Investments, Campbell Soup Co., Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc., DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse, Eli Lilly and Co. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Gero, who also founded marketing communications firm Gero Communications and has served on various boards throughout her career, says companies need to realize getting better gender representation on boards can benefit businesses. “Aside from being a morally correct thing to do, it's been shown that boards with women directors are more profitable — they have better return on equity, better return on sales and better return on invested capital than boards without women,” Gero says.
- 1 of 8