When Women Lead - Part 2

When Women Lead (Part 2)

A year ago 2020 Women on Boards published a mid-year report entitled “When Women Lead” which looked at the gender diversity on corporate boards when women were in positions of influence – CEO, Board Chair or Nominating Chair. We also compiled information on the female directors at Fortune 1000 companies to determine whether the same women served on multiple boards or whether there were a large group of women serving on just one board.

This year, we updated the information with the 2016 Fortune 1000 data and saw a trend. In 2016 there are 55 female CEOs, six more than in 2015. The average percentage of women on their boards is 30.8%, up from 29.8% in 2015. By comparison, the average percentage of women on the boards of companies with male CEOs is 18.2%. Also, 91% of companies with a female CEO have reached 2020 Women on Boards’ target of having 20% or more board seats held by women.

There are currently 43 female Chairs of the Board among the 2016 Fortune 1000 companies, up from 37 in 2015. On the boards of these 43 companies, an average of 29.7% of the seats are held by women, up from 27.7% in 2015. This compares to 18.3% women on boards when men are Board Chairs. Eighty-eight percent are Winning “W” Companies at 20% or more women, down one percentage point from 2015.

The growth in Fortune 1000 female Nominating Chairs is more significant, up to 179 from 154 in 2015. The percentage of women on their boards is 23.5%, compared to 23.1% in 2015, and 18.1% with male Nominating Chairs. There are 13 more “W” companies with a female Nominating Chair, which is 65% of the companies on the list.
In addition, in 2016 we continue to see that the majority of women directors of Fortune 1000 companies (76%) serve on a single board. An additional 18%, or 262 women, serve on two boards, 69 women serve on three boards, and 14 serve on four boards. With 76% of women directors serving on only one large company board, there is plenty of qualified untapped talent ready to serve on additional boards.

This demonstrates that women in leadership positions on boards can impact the diversity of those boards. We encourage all women to strive for these positions of influence and reach out to other women and help give them a voice on the boards of corporate America as well.