Women held 19% of board memberships globally in 2016
- Egon Zehnder, an executive search firm, found through its Global Board Diversity Analysis that, in 2016, 19% of board seats in the world’s largest companies were held by women, says Fast Company. GDBA authors called this 5% increase since 2012 an "incremental change."
- Globally, few companies have women on their boards, Fast Company reports. The study found that the U.S. lags most Western European nations, South Africa and Canada in female board membership. Half of the 44 countries in the report have no female representation, including Japan.
- Men made up most board chairs — 95% — the study showed. Norway had the highest percentage of women, 29%, in executive and non-executive chair positions. Italy was second with 27%.
The analysis affirmed what women executives and diversity proponents already knew – few women have moved into the top leadership roles of corporations.
Corporate research firm Equilar found similar results in its study of women directors in publicly held companies. The percentage of women was 15% in 2016, a 1% rise over the previous year. Given that 12% was the figure in 2011, there’s been moderate growth in five years.
An earlier study by global research firm MSCI ESG showed that companies with female board members had a higher return on equity, 10.1%, than companies without, 7.4%. A Credit Suisse survey had similar results. Boards with women directors tended to be more focused on diversity, which many now recognize as a business imperative. These reports could be incentives for companies to bring more women on as directors and for boards to select more female chairs.