2020 Women on Boards Releases 2014 Gender Diversity Index

Steady Gains Made by Women on Fortune 1000 Company Boards
Boston, MA
November 19

Women continue to make gains in the boardrooms of Fortune 1000 companies according to 2020 Women on Boards' 2014 Gender Diversity Index released in conjunction with the organization's third annual National Conversation on Board Diversity, taking place in cities across the U.S. and the world on November 20.
Women now hold 17.7% of board seats in Fortune 1000 companies, up from 16.6% last year. The 2020 Gender Diversity Index uses the 2010 Fortune 1000 list as a baseline to track the progress women have made in obtaining board seats. 2020 Women on Boards published its first Gender Diversity Index in 2011.
Key findings of this year's report include:

  • Of 867 active companies, the percentage of board seats held by women increased to 17.7% in 2014, up from 16.6% in 2013. The percentage of board seats held by women in 2011, the first year of reporting, was 14.6%.
  • Women gained 90 board seats in 2014, compared to 72 board seats gained in the same companies in 2013.
  • The number of Fortune 1000 Winning “W” Companies increased to 351 from last year’s 316, representing both the largest number and the largest percentage to date. The number of Zero “Z” Companies declined to 93 companies, representing the smallest number and the smallest percentage to date.
  • All sectors increased the percentage of women, with the largest gains in Consumer Defensive, Real Estate and Utilities, all three of which are now greater than 20%. The Energy sector significantly lags other sectors at 11.5%.

The Gender Diversity Index shows a slightly rosier picture when compared with companies on the Fortune 1000 lists for 2014 and 2013. Women held 16.9% of the board seats in 2014 Fortune 1000 companies and 16.1% in 2013. Why the difference? The majority of new companies on the Fortune 1000 lists added since 2010 are ranked at F501 - F1000. The research shows that smaller companies fare worse in their diversity efforts. In addition, 70% of the new companies on the list since 2010 come from the Energy, Industrials and Technology sectors, which also are significantly below average in diversity. The research also shows that companies that drop off the Index tend to have one or no women on their boards, which improves the Index overall.
"This report shows that while Corporate America is moving in the right direction on board diversity, the pace of change remains too slow. That’s why I recently launched the Boardroom Accountability Project to give shareholders a greater say in electing diverse, independent, accountable directors. With the help of coalitions like 2020 Women on Boards we will continue to fight for boardrooms that promote quality decision-making by reflecting the diversity of our nation," said New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer.
"We are encouraged by this progress, but still need to do better," said Stephanie Sonnabend, Co-founder and Chair, 2020 Women on Boards. "The backbone of this campaign is our thousands of supporters who help us educate and advocate for change," added Malli Gero, Co-founder and President. Both women say that the campaign will exceed its goal of 20% board seats held by women by the year 2020.
About 2020 Women on Boards: Founded in Boston in 2010, 2020 Women on Boards is the national campaign to increase the percentage of women on U.S. company boards to 20% or greater by the year 2020. 2020 WOB is well known for its research on the gender composition of boards of directors, including its proprietary Gender Diversity Directory that ranks companies on a W (winning) to Z (zero) scale. 2020 WOB leverages this research with its one-day National Conversation, held in November throughout cities in the U.S. and the world, when thousands of C-Suite and senior level executives discuss and explore the benefits that women bring to company boardrooms. For more information visit http://www.2020wob.com.