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Initiatives and Interesting Statistics

You can volunteer your time, money and/or resources to assist these particular initiatives, created to increase the number of women on boards in the United States. We will keep you updated on the latest progress with bullet-point stats from a variety of sources.

Have a great initiative or statistic to share? Please let us know.


California State Resolution

In 2013, the California Legislature was the first of any state in the nation to pass a resolution urging all publicly held corporations in the state to place more women on their boards by the end of December, 2016. Illinois is following suit with a similar resolution already passing the House and due to the Senate in the fall of 2015.

2020 Women on Boards

A national campaign to increase the percentage of women on U.S. company boards to 20% or greater by the year 2020.

Every Other One: More Women on Corporate Boards

If prominent corporations adopt a target of recruiting women in one of every two board seat openings due to normal retirements and existing female seats are retained, CED believes that 30% participation would likely occur by 2018.

Project Starfish

A process to help ensure that board opportunities for qualified women are not lost, but rather benefit others.

Stanford Women on Boards

The goal of SWB is to increase the representation of Stanford alumnae on corporate boards, increase Stanford women’s readiness for board service, and further develop the capabilities and influence of Stanford women already on boards.

Women on Boards Initiative

Inspired to address gender inequity and its impact on the business landscape, Forté partnered with its sponsoring business schools and companies to advance women into corporate board positions.

The Thirty Percent Coalition

The Thirty Percent Coalition is a unique and groundbreaking national organization of over 70 members committed to the goal of women holding 30% of board seats across public companies.

Director Diversity Initiative

The objective of the Director Diversity Initiative is to encourage boards of directors of public companies to increase their gender, racial, and ethnic diversity.


A national non-profit that works to increase the representation of women lawyers on corporate boards through events that provide education and networking opportunities around the issue of women on boards.


A national consortium whose mission is to increase the number of women appointed to corporate boards and to the executive suite.

Idaho Boards Project

The purpose of this initiative is to document and analyze the gender balance on public boards and commissions within Idaho, including  cities, counties to state organizations.

Interesting Statistics


Boards Need Diversity

The performance of public offerings of U.S. companies with at least one female director has been “significantly better” in the last four years than those without. CNBC

Growth Opportunities for Boardrooms

Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon told CNBC on Thursday his investment bank will help companies go public only if they have at least one “diverse” board member. CNBC

“Starting on July 1st in the U.S. and Europe, we’re (Goldman Sachs) not going to take a company public unless there’s at least one diverse board candidate, with a focus on women,” Solomon said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “And we’re going to move towards 2021 requesting two,” he (David Solomon) added. CNBC

International Boardroom Statistics

About 60 companies in the U.S. and Europe have gone public recently with all white, male boards, he said. CNBC

2019 Interesting Statistics

Slow Growth

The share of female board members in the Russell 3000 index, which includes most public companies on major U.S. stock exchanges, increased to 20% in the second quarter of this year from 19% the previous quarter, according to Equilar Inc., a governance-data firm. When Equilar began tracking the measure in late 2016, 15% of board seats were filled by women. The Wall Street Journal

The California law, signed last September by then-Gov. Jerry Brown, requires all publicly traded companies with headquarters in the state to have at least one woman on their boards by the end of 2019 or face fines. So far, 68% of the 94 public companies in the state with all-male boards when the law passed have added at least one woman, according to Athena Alliance, a nonprofit that helps women land board directorships. The Wall Street Journal

Nearly 42% of new directors appointed in the second quarter to Russell 3000 boards were women, according to Equilar. That is down from 47% during the first quarter of the year. Of the women filling open board seats in the second quarter, 53% were serving on their first corporate board, while the remainder were veterans. The Wall Street Journal

Recent research has shown that boards tend to practice a sort of “twokenism,” diversifying to a point where they meet what’s considered the norm and then appear to do less to raise the numbers. The Washington Post

After years of ‘glacial change,’ women now hold more than 1 in 4 corporate board seats.The Washington Post

After being stuck at 16 percent for several years, the percentage of women-held board seats in the S&P 500 now reaches nearly 27 percent, according to data from ISS Analytics, the data arm of the proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services.

Perhaps most notable is that all-male boards among S&P 500 companies have become a nearly extinct species. In 2009, there were 56 firms in the S&P 500 that did not include any women. As of June 28, there was one. The Washington Post

Copart, an online vehicle auction company based in Dallas, has the final all-male board in the S&P 500, according to data from ISS Analytics. But it has said it intends to fill a board vacancy with a “highly qualified, accomplished woman this year.”The Washington Post

For the first time, all S&P 500 companies have at least one female director.Bloomberg

The final stretch of progress has been slow. In 2000, about 86% of S&P 500 companies had at least one women on their board according to Spencer Stuart. The last 14% of companies have taken almost 20 years to close the gap. – Bloomberg

Despite the progress made among new appointees, women still only represent 22.5% of all Fortune 500 board directors. That’s up from roughly 16% in 2010, according to a separate report from the Alliance for Board Diversity and Deloitte. – CNN

MSCI (a provider of market indexes and portfolio and risk management tools and services) found that 64% of companies in emerging markets had at least one female director last year, up from 59.6% in 2017. It also cited the U.S.’s “modest progress” last year, which saw women occupy 23.4% of all directorships, an increase of 89 board seats in absolute terms. At the same time, 11 U.S. firms still had all-male boards as of mid-October, making the U.S. an outlier among developed nations outside of Asia. – Fortune

The ultimate goal of those who advocate for more women on boards is gender parity — meaning the number of women and men directors are evenly split. As of March this year, only seven companies in the Fortune 500 had achieved that, according to data from Equilar: Viacom (VIA), Ulta Beauty (ULTA), Casey’s General Stores (CASY), Ascena Retail Group (ASNA), CBS (CBS), Best Buy (BBY), Omnicom Group (OMC). – CNN

A new study out from MSCI showed that among the 2,700 companies in its All Country World Index, a slightly larger share of firms—78.7%—had at least one female director as of mid-October 2018 than in 2017 (77.4%). That incremental progress means that it will take until 2029 for companies in the index to reach 30% female representation in the boardroom—two years longer than MSCI projected in 2015. – Fortune

Last year, of the 462 newly appointed Fortune 500 board members, 183 of them — or 40% — were women, according to a new report from executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles. – CNN

Heidrick expects women will be named to Fortune 500 boards in equal numbers as men by 2023. – CNN

Large companies — those worth $5 billion or more — appointed nearly three times as many women as men to their boards of directors during the second and third quarters last year, showing just how eager they are to diversify their governance teams and comply with mounting pressure for equality. – The Washington Post

If every state were to adopt California’s lead, U.S. companies in the Russell 3000 would need to open up 3,732 board seats for women within a few years. The number of women on these boards nationally would increase by almost 75 percent. – Bloomberg

Board Composition & Member Profiles

The number of all-male boards is much higher among smaller companies: Among companies in the Russell 3000 index, which also includes smaller firms, 329 have no women on the board.The Washington Post

We compared the career paths of 100 female public company CEOs with those of a cohort of men in similar industry sectors and company sizes. We found two significant differences between the career paths of men and women who lead public companies. Prior to becoming a public company CEO:

Women were significantly more likely to serve on a corporate board than men. More than half of the women (59%) served on a public company board, as compared with 42% of the men. Almost twice as many women (23%) as men (12%) served on a private company board.

For those recruited from the outside, women were almost twice as likely to be promoted from a non-CEO title as men. More than half the outsider men appointed to lead a public company (52%) were CEOs of private companies or divisions of public companies, as compared with just 18% of women. HBR

Our research, coupled with recent growth trends for women appointed to serve on corporate boards, may signal a significant increase of women in the CEO talent pool in the years to come. The 2018 U.S. Spencer Stuart Board Index found that women represent a record-breaking 40% of the incoming class of board directors (up from 36% in 2017). Women now represent 24% of all directors, up from 22% in 2017. Further, 17% of the incoming class are 50 years old or younger, up slightly from 16% last year, and more than half of these next-gen directors (53%) are women. HBR

Corporate boards have long been bastions of men. Directors, who are ultimately responsible for a company’s direction and supervise the chief executive officer, are often current or retired executives themselves—also a very male crowd. For many people in business and finance, it’s a coveted role, a part-time gig that confers access to a wide network of powerful people as well as annual compensation that can run to $300,000 or more. –Bloomberg

A new California law requires most companies in the state to have at least one woman on their boards of directors by the end of this year. By the end of 2021, they’ll need three. According to a new Bloomberg analysis, this sea change could offer women 692 seats at the table, enough to cause a measurable shift in the gender balance of U.S. company boards overall. – Bloomberg

Boards Need Diversity

Racially and ethnically diverse candidates — men and women combined — constituted 23% of new board appointees last year, unchanged from the all-time high in 2017. And they account for a much smaller share of all Fortune 500 board directors. – CNN

International Boardroom Statistics

Women hold 12.7 percent of CFO roles globally – nearly three times that of CEO positions. Deloitte

Women hold only 5.3 percent of board chair positions and 4.4 percent of CEO roles globally. – Deloitte

Women hold 16.9 percent of board seats worldwide. – Deloitte

Interesting Statistics Archives