2017 Gender Diversity Index Key Findings

Since 2011, the 2020 Gender Diversity Index (GDI) has tracked the number of women on the boards of the 2010 Fortune 1000 (F1000) list of companies as a baseline of comparison. We report our findings and compare progress on this same group of companies from one year to the next looking at company size, state and sector.

Key findings of this year’s report include:


20% Goal Exceeded: In the 801 active GDI companies, women now hold 20.8% of the board seats, an increase from 19.7% in 2016 and 14.6% in 2011, when we first started tracking the data.

More than Half of Index Companies are "W"s: Fifty-five percent of GDI companies (444 companies) are "W" companies, with 20% or more of their board seats held by women.The number of "Z" companies, those with no women on their boards, fell to seven percent, or 55 companies. Despite these improvements, 29% of the GDI companies still have one or no women on their boards.

Women Gain Board Seats, Men Lose Them: Women experienced a net gain of 67 board seats, while men experienced a net loss of 183 seats since 2016’s report.

Companies Add Board Seats to Achieve Diversity: Of the 129 GDI companies that added women, 69 (53%) did so by increasing the size of the board. The number of companies adding women without waiting to replace a man has been above 50% since we started tracking this trend in 2012.

Thirteen States Exceed 20%: Of the 24 states with the highest percentages of company board seats held by women, 13 exceeded 20%: Connecticut and Wisconsin joined California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Washington this year. Three states increased their Women on Boards (WOB) percentages by over two points.

2017 FORTUNE 1000 COMPANIES (980 companies)

Almost at 20% Milestone: Women held 19.8% of board seats of companies in the 2017 F1000, a list of the largest U.S. companies ranked by total revenue. The current list contains 980 active companies. In 2016, women held 18.8% of the board seats of 967 active F1000 companies.

Smaller/Newer Companies Still Less Diverse: There are 264 companies on the 2017 F1000 list that were not on the F1000 list in 2010, and therefore, not in the GDI. In this new group, women hold just 15.8% of the board seats. Smaller and newer companies continue to lag larger companies in finding women to serve on their boards.