Getting on board

Gender diversity on corporate boards

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Women are joining boards at higher rates, although progress comes slowly, according to our report about the state of US corporate boards.

Our corporate governance database provided data for this report which focuses on a broad universe of companies to tell a more complete story since the boards of large companies tend to be more diverse.

Survey highlights include:

  • The rate at which women are joining boards as a percentage of new board members is increasing.
  • Boards that already have at least one female director are most likely to add more.
  • Companies are diversifying board members' professional backgrounds.
  • Female representation in leadership positions and on key board committees remains lower overall.
There is a need for diversity in skill sets, expertise, experience and viewpoints on boards of directors.

Prioritizing a diverse board

Given the evidence of the impact board diversity has on the bottom line and the boardroom changes that are taking place outside of the US, diversity should now be a priority for US companies and their boards.

Boards need to be prepared to discuss their composition with shareholders. Board diversity has become a priority for many investors.

Additionally, boards that lack a breadth of diversity – across gender, ethnicity, age, geography and experience — and that are not challenging their composition and effectively conducting board assessment and development strategies — may risk becoming under-performing boards.

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