Women: Not Present on IPO Company Boards

Boston, MA
July 19

2020 Women on Boards has released a study of recently-launched IPO companies to test a common precept that companies go public without any or few women on their boards. The national campaign, whose mission is to educate and advocate for more gender diverse boards, tracked the 25 largest IPOs[1] in 2014, 2015, and 2016. The results supported the belief that IPOs have a poor track record when it comes to putting women on their boards.

  • Of the 75 largest IPO companies that went public between 2014-2016, nearly half, or 37 companies, went public with no women on their boards.
  • Another 25%, or 19 companies, had only one woman on the board.
  • Even after a year or two of being public, two thirds of the companies still had one or no female directors.
  • The percentage of women on boards at IPO is a meager 9.4% and only increases to 13.6% by May 2017.

According to the 2020 Women on Boards’ Gender Diversity Index (GDI) for 2016, women held 19.7% of board seats of 810 GDI companies[2], and 18.8% board seats at 2016 Fortune 1000 companies. These findings show that IPO companies lag far behind more established companies.
“We call on IPO companies, their underwriters and investors to correct this oversight,” said Malli Gero, President and co-founder of 2020 Women on Boards. Chairman of the Board and 2020 Women on Boards co-founder Stephanie Sonnabend said, “Underwriters who bring companies public along with the companies themselves should be held accountable for creating diverse boards.”
More information on the study and the list of IPO companies with one or no women on their boards can be found HERE.
The following chart shows the track record of major underwriters for the 75 largest IPOs (measured by market cap on the first day of trading) for 2014 - 2016.

[1] Data obtained from WFE – The World Federation of Exchanges Ltd. based on market cap on the NASDAQ US and NYSE on first day of trading.

[2] The 2020 Women on Boards Gender Diversity Index (GDI) uses the 2010
 Fortune 1000 companies as its baseline list. Companies that are no longer active due to a sale, merger, bankruptcy or other reason, are removed from the list.