mobile equilar logo
phone icon
Equilar Institute Blog Home

89 Boards Driving the Push Toward Gender Equality

Previous post Next post


May 15, 2018

The latest Equilar Gender Diversity Index found that just 16.9% of Russell 3000 board seats were occupied by women at the end of Q1 2018. While representation of women on boards remains low, there has been recent progress.

In particular, there is a growing number of boards with at least 40% representation of women, which is increasing significantly each quarter. As of March 31, 2018, there were 89 boards in the Russell 3000 that had at least 40% women, up from 80 in the previous quarter—and up from just 68 a year earlier.

While the overall number of boards at parity fell for the first time since the Equilar Gender Diversity Index was initiated—from 32 to 27—the number of boards between 40% and 50% increased significantly from 48 to 62. Even considering the five boards that moved out of the parity category (one of which actually fell below 40%), this notable increase indicates that more companies are joining the movement toward parity of women on boards. The parity number is an important milestone, but board refreshment for an odd-numbered board means that replacing one member may fluctuate over and under 50%.

Below is a list of boards that had at least 50% women as of March 31, 2018.

Organization Name Count Board Members Count Women Percent Women
Tootsie Roll Industries, Inc.
4 3 75.0%
Connecticut Water Service, Inc.
7 5 71.4%
Viveve Medical, Inc.
6 4 66.7%
Navios Maritime Acquisition Corporation
7 4 57.1%
Alliant Energy Corporation
9 5 55.6%
Chico's FAS, Inc.
9 5 55.6%
CompX International Inc.
9 5 55.6%
Viacom, Inc.
9 5 55.6%
e.l.f. Beauty, Inc.
9 5 55.6%
Caleres, Inc.
11 6 54.5%
Navient Corporation
11 6 54.5%
Ascena Retail Group, Inc.
10 5 50.0%
Macy's, Inc.
10 5 50.0%
Sleep Number Corporation
10 5 50.0%
Williams-Sonoma, Inc.
10 5 50.0%
American Water Works Company, Inc.
8 4 50.0%
Big Lots, Inc.
8 4 50.0%
Build-A-Bear Workshop
8 4 50.0%
Calithera Biosciences
8 4 50.0%
Libbey Inc.
8 4 50.0%
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc.
8 4 50.0%
Simpson Manufacturing Co., Inc.
8 4 50.0%
Spire Inc.
8 4 50.0%
Trevena, Inc.
8 4 50.0%
Zendesk, Inc.
8 4 50.0%
Zynga Inc.
8 4 50.0%
Exponent, Inc.
6 3 50.0%

There have been other signs of progress as well. The number of boards with no women fell below 20% for the first time in the first quarter of 2018. The facts that 5.1% of all-male boards brought on a women in Q1 2018, and that the number of all-male boards in the Russell 3000 decreased by 24.3% in just 18 months are also significant.

In addition, nearly one-third of open board seats went to women in the first quarter of this year, which increased from 29.4% for the full year 2017 and from 21.4% in 2016. These trends have led to an increase in the percentage of women on boards from 15.1% to 16.9% since 2016.

Progressive steps like this on their own will not ultimately lead to gender parity and equality in the boardroom, nor will they solve the problem that board diversity aims to address. Boards that resemble any one type of demographic or professional background do not align with the diverse group of shareholders, customers and employees in today’s corporate landscape.

Board diversity is not about “checking boxes” and adding certain types of people or backgrounds, it’s about understanding the business world as it is now and will become, not as it has been. Major investors are looking to see their portfolio companies undertake critical assessments of how board composition reflects corporate strategy and the perspectives of all stakeholders involved—and make changes when needed.

Please click here for more details and commentary on the latest Gender Diversity Index.



Dan Marcec, the Director of Content & Communications at Equilar, authored this article. Courtney Yu, director of research, and Lyla Qureshi and Hailey Robbers, research analysts, also contributed. Please contact Amit Batish at abatish@equilar.com for more information on Equilar research and data analysis.


Previous post Next post


knowledge center

Latest Data & Analysis

Read More


executive insider

Subscribe to our Newsletter to stay informed about upcoming events and webinars.



executive insider

Subscribe to our Newsletter to stay informed about upcoming events and webinars.



Media Inquiries

(650) 241-6655

press@equilar.com



equilar insight

Accurate, easy-to-use compensation benchmarking data at your fingertips

Learn More


Follow @equilarinc