2016 report reveals a message to companies: Don’t wait. Add a woman
to your board
BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Six years into its ten-year campaign, 2020 Women on Boards reports that
women continue to make gains in the boardrooms of US companies,
according to the organization’s 2016 Gender Diversity Index (GDI) of Fortune
1000 (F1000) companies. Women now hold 19.7% of board seats of GDI
companies. The goal of reaching 20% women on the boards of directors of
the largest companies in the U.S. is within reach.
Furthermore, the report finds that of the 120 GDI companies that added
women to their boards in 2016, 58% or 70 companies did so by increasing
the size of their boards to include a new female director. This
demonstrates that companies are not necessarily waiting for a board seat
to open up, but rather prioritizing the urgent need for greater
diversity of thought.
The GDI has tracked the number of women on boards since 2011 using the F1000
list from 2010 as a baseline of comparison. This year, the GDI is
comprised of 810 active companies. Companies fall off the list each year
due to sales, mergers, bankruptcies, and other variables.
2020 Women on Boards ranks companies on a “W” (Winning) to “Z” (Zero)
scale. Winning “W” Companies have 20% or greater women on their boards;
Very Close “V” have 11-19% women on their boards; Token “T” Companies
have one woman; and, Zero “Z” Companies have no women.
Key findings from this year’s GDI include:
• Women now hold 19.7% of board seats, an increase from 18.8% in 2015
and 14.6% in 2011, the first year of reporting. This compares to 18.8%
women on the 2016 Fortune 1000 list, which includes 967 companies.
• Women experienced a net gain of 74 board seats while men experienced a
net loss of 71 board seats.
• One hundred-twenty GDI companies added women to their boards. Of
these, 70 (58%) did so by increasing the total number of board seats to
accommodate new women appointees.
• Of the 61 GDI companies that have no women on their boards, 41
companies have never had a woman in the past 5 years. These companies
come from a variety of industry sectors and states although 27% are
“In the five years of compiling GDI data,” notes Stephanie Sonnabend,
Co-founder and Chairman of 2020 Women on Boards, “383 companies have
added 518 female board seats. Over half of these companies added women
by adding board seats rather than directly replacing men. This finding
challenges the idea that boards need to wait for men to step out in
order to add women.”
Adds Malli Gero, Co-founder and President of 2020 Women on Boards, “We
are thrilled to be close to our 20% goal, but there is still work to do.
Smaller companies tend to be less diverse than larger ones. Clearly,
they haven’t yet received the message that companies with women on their
boards outperform those companies without women.”
About 2020 Women on Boards: Founded in Boston in 2010, 2020 Women
on Boards is the national campaign to increase the percentage of women
on U.S. company boards to 20% or greater by the year 2020. 2020 Women On
Boards is known for its research on the gender composition of boards of
directors, including its proprietary 2020
Gender Diversity Directory, which ranks nearly 2000 companies on a
“W” (winning) to “Z” (zero) scale. The list of Z companies with no women
on their boards currently or for the past 5 years is available by
contacting info@2020WOB.com. 2020
Women On Boards leverages its research with its annual National
Conversation on Board Diversity, which will take place November 17th
in cities across the US. For more information visit www.2020wob.com.
1 The list of Z companies with no women on their boards
currently or the past 5 years is available by contacting info@2020WOB.com
2020 Women on Boards
Malli Gero, 617-942-2765