December 1, 2016
According to a recent study from Equilar, 658 companies in the Russell 3000, or 23.3%, lacked any females on their boards. By comparison, only seven S&P 500 companies (1.4%) lacked a female member in 2016.
In the past few years, the call from stakeholders for greater diversity on public company boards has reached a fever pitch. Institutional investors and advocacy groups alike are turning up the pressure for more intensive board assessment and refreshment, asking directors to consider the changing demographics of how they can better serve the needs of their investor, employee, vendor and customer bases and create more shareholder value.
The response to changing demographics notwithstanding, studies consistently show that board diversity supports improved company performance. However, the data hasn’t been sufficient to change behavior or many companies, says Brande Stellings, Vice President of Corporate Board Services at Catalyst, who spoke with Equilar in a recent interview for C-Suite magazine.
“Boards have control over the company’s strategic direction, and corporations are vey important to everyday lives, so we think it’s important to see at least half of the population represented on the board,” Stellings noted.
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