Methodology and glossary

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Visit the Index of women in power and utilities homepage.


Our research team identified the 200 largest global utilities by revenue and investigated the number of men and women on the board of directors and the senior management team. Information sources included company websites, annual reports and disclosures, secondary sources and databases and data gathered directly from the company by email or telephone. The research was conducted in December 2015 and represents a snapshot accurate at that time.

To create the Women in P&U Index, we ranked the utilities using a weighted index that favored women in executive positions. Executive board members received the highest weighting, followed by senior management teams, non-executive board members/independent directors, business unit leaders and audit.

As in the 2015 Index, we tuned the ranking model to reflect the pace of change within the sector. The diversity score for each utility takes into account the collective average number of women in decision-making positions in the industry and rewards those who are above average.


Corporate governance structures are complex and vary across the world. Several countries have structures adapted in accordance with national regulations. We have tried to harmonize variations within corporate governance structures using the following broad definitions:

  • Board executives (typically the CEO/Chair): the people responsible for day-to-day management of the utility who have a seat on the board
  • Non-executive directors (also called external directors, independent directors or outside directors): members of the company’s board of directors who are not part of the executive team and typically are involved only in policy-making and planning exercises. They are external to the company, and they function in a supervisory role.
  • Senior management team (SMT): the executive management of the company including the CEO, CFO and equivalent roles (designation varies from region to region with terms such as Executive Director and Managing Director commonly used). Typically, this group will comprise 5 to 10 individuals with ultimate responsibility for the day-to-day running of the company. We identify the SMT as an indicator of the utility’s pipeline of future women leaders.
  • Business units (BU): this refers to how the company is organized below the level of the board and the senior management team. For the purposes of the Index, we looked at people heading the business units vital to the power sector: generation, transmission and distribution, retail, trading and customer. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of business units within a company. Where companies have more business units than those listed, we have only sourced those falling broadly into the above categories.
  • Audit: The team responsible for choosing the external auditor, deciding on auditor remuneration and overseeing the audit process for the company. Typically, they are part of the board as non-executive directors.

If executives were members of both the SMT and the board, they were included as board members but not included in the SMT group for percentage purposes to avoid double counting.