LOS ANGELES – National advocacy group 2020 Women on Boards announced today that women hold 20.4% of the board seats on publicly traded companies in the Russell 3,000 Index, exceeding its namesake goal a full year ahead of schedule that women would hold 20% of corporate board seats by the year 2020.
“We beat the 20% goal thanks to consistent and proactive efforts by shareholders, enlightened corporate CEOs, and our national 2020WOB research and public awareness campaign,” said 2020 Women on Boards co-founder Stephanie Sonnabend.
“The pendulum has swung from a glacial lack of progress to visible forward momentum,” added 2020 Women on Boards co-founder Malli Gero.
2020 Women on Boards, the national advocacy and research organization dedicated to increasing gender diversity on corporate boards, analyzed data on the Russell 3000 companies provided by Equilar. They found these companies added 941 board seats over the past year—a rate of increasing gender diversity that was 30% faster than in previous years.
Additional key findings of the 2020WOB Gender Diversity Index for 2019 include:
60% of the 941 female board seats added this year were new seats created by expanding the boards, not by replacing male directors.
Despite reaching the 20% milestone, women hold only 5,261 board seats of the total 25,770 directors of the Russell 3000 corporations.
Comparing 2019 to 2018, the Russell 3000 listed 2,712 companies for both years. Of those, 793 companies (about one-third) added women directors in the past year.
17 states, compared to only four states in 2018, now have surpassed 20% women on boards among corporations headquartered in their states.
311 companies have no women directors, 1/3 of companies have just one.
Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire, CEO of 2020WOB added, “While there still remains a huge gap from today’s 20% to 50% parity, we are pleased and proud that our nationwide campaign has played an influential role in this accomplishment. This is strictly a business issue—a preponderance of research has demonstrated that companies perform better in profitability and productivity when they have women on boards. Enlightened companies now recognize that it is a competitive advantage to have business-savvy women on their boards.”
Good corporate decision-making requires the ability to hear and consider different points of view, which comes from people who have different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. More diversity on corporate boards leads to better shareholder returns, diversity of thought—which results in better decision making—and a competitive advantage, given diverse boards are better positioned to thrive in today’s global economy where rapidly changing economic realities require nimble, strategic and well-informed directors.
The annual 2020WOB Gender Diversity Index will be available this fall at 2020WOB.com, citing trends for the year, comparing the Russell 3000 corporations nationally, by state, industry sector, size, and number of women on each board.
About 2020 Women on Boards
2020 Women on Boards (2020WOB) is a global education and advocacy campaign committed to building public awareness and momentum toward increasing the numbers of women directors on corporate boards. Its namesake goal of 20% women on boards has been achieved in 2019, a year earlier than expected in 2020—the year chosen to honor the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote in the U.S., the 19th Amendment.
2020WOB educates stakeholders, men and women, about the business advantages of gender diversity on boards. To provide the public easy access to online information, 2020WOB created its “Gender Diversity Directory” to inform business leaders, shareholders, consumers, and news media about the numbers of women directors on Russell 3000 boards, sortable by state, industry, company name, size, and ranking.
Through its annual National Conversation on Board Diversity, and “Get on Board” workshops, 2020WOB educates women about how to navigate their own careers toward corporate boards. The 2019 National Conversation on Board Diversity will be held on November 21st in more than 30 U.S. and international cities.
Established in Boston, 2020WOB is a 501c3, educational nonprofit. Headquarters and staff are now located in Los Angeles, CA.