2016 Gender Diversity Index Key Findings

Every year, we research the gender make-up of the active companies on the 2010 Fortune 1000 (F1000) list of companies and report our findings in the annual 2020 Gender Diversity Index (GDI) comparing progress on this same group of companies from one year to the next. We compare these findings with companies in the current F1000 List. Key findings for this year’s report are noted below:


Index Companies (810 companies)

More Women on Boards: In the 810 active GDI companies, women hold 19.7% of board seats, an increase from 18.8% in 2015, and from 14.6% in 2011.

Women Gain 74 Board Seats: While both men and women gained and lost board seats, the net result is that women gained 74 board seats in 2016, and men lost 71, for a net change of three additional female board seats.

Companies Add Board Seats to Achieve Diversity: Of the 120 companies that added women, 70 (58%) did so by increasing the total number of board seats to accommodate a new woman appointee, without replacing men. This challenges the argument that boards need to wait for a man to step down in order to add a woman.

Half of GDI Companies are Ws: About half of all GDI companies have 20% or greater women on their boards. The number of Z companies continues to decline, now down to 8%, from 9% last year.

Percentage of Women on Boards Increases in Major Sectors: Companies in six sectors now have over 20% female board members, compared with five sectors last year: Consumer Cyclical, Consumer Defensive, Financial Services, Healthcare, Real Estate and Utilities

2016 FORTUNE 1000 COMPANIES (967 companies)

More Women on Boards: Women hold 18.8% of the board seats of companies in the 2016 Fortune 1000 list, the largest U.S. companies ranked by total revenue. The current year’s list contains 967 active companies. In 2015, women held 17.9% of the board seats of 960 active F1000 companies.

Smaller/New Companies Are Less Diverse: Smaller companies and newer companies are less diverse than larger companies. There are 233 companies that are on the 2016 Fortune 1000 but not this year’s GDI. In this new group of companies, women hold just 14.8% of the board seats, further evidence that the newer companies and smaller companies are less diverse.