- All S&P 500 Index companies now have a woman on their board of directors thanks to the last holdout, Copart Inc., appointing Diane Morefield, chief financial officer at CyrusOne Inc., to its board.
- Citing the research firm Equilar, which collects data on executives and boards, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that one in eight S&P 500 companies had all-male boards in 2012, but by the beginning of 2019, only a few holdouts were left. Today, women make up 27% of all the index's directors, up from 17% in 2012.
- WSJ attributed much of the change to pressure from investors such as State Street Global Advisors, BlackRock Inc. and a number of state pension funds, some of which withheld proxy votes in objection to the low numbers of seats held by women.
The scarcity of women at the top is a wide segment of the broader gender gap, and one can grow wider the higher up women rise in organizations. However, the Women Tech Council released a report in May that identified an uptick in executive engagement, other women in leadership roles and diversity and inclusion policies as three practices helping to close the leadership gender gap in its industry.
Gender equity on boards, however, has attracted strong media attention due in part to the slow growth of said positions held by women. California passed a law in late 2018 mandating that all companies principally located in the state must have at least one female member by the end of 2019. By 2021, companies with five-member boards will need at least two female members, while those with six or more members will need three in order to remain compliant. Some of the recent movement on this issue has been in direct response to the #MeToo movement; in a survey published after the direct aftermath of #MeToo, 80% of recruiters reported seeing an increase in the number of requests for female execs.
Employers have turned to a number of solutions both internally and externally to up the number of female leaders at their organizations. Mogul, a recruiting platform, launched a subscription service that targets companies looking to hire and advance female leaders at their organizations. Through the new service, Invitation-Only, employers will be able to post VP-, SVP-, EVP-, president-, C-Suite- or board member-level jobs to Mogul's network of 15,000 senior-level women.
Internally, employers are beefing up their leadership pipelines through advancing employee resource groups and improving their mentorship and sponsorship programs to ensure equal access across gender and ethnic lines. Some companies, including most recently Uber, have begun to tie executive compensation to D&I program success in order to make it a priority for their businesses.