Women Gain Seats on Company Boards of Directors

2020 Women on Boards Releases 2015 Gender Diversity Index

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Women continue to make gains in the boardrooms of Fortune 1000 companies
according to 2020 Women on Boards’ just-released 2015 Gender
Diversity Index
(GDI). Women now hold 18.8% of board seats of GDI
companies. The GDI has tracked the number of women on boards since 2011
using the Fortune 1000 list from 2010 as a baseline of comparison. This
year, the GDI is comprised of 842 companies. Companies fall off the list
each year due to sales, mergers, bankruptcies, and other variables.

2020 Women on Boards, the national campaign to increase the percentage
of board seats held by women to 20% or greater by 2020, ranks companies
on a “W” (Winning) to “Z” (Zero) scale. Winning “W” Companies have 20%
or greater women on their boards; Very Close “V” have 11-19% women on
their boards; Token “T” Companies have one woman; and, Zero “Z”
Companies have no women. The rankings of close to 2000 companies are
available in the 2020
Gender Diversity Directory

Key findings of this year’s GDI report include:

  • Women now hold 18.8% of board seats, an increase from 17.7% in 2014
    and 14.6% in 2011, the first year of reporting.
  • Women gained 75 board seats in 2015; an increase from 52 board seats
    gained in 2014.
  • The number of Winning “W” Companies (greater than 20%) has increased
    to 45%, compared with 40% last year. The number of Zero “Z” Companies
    (no women) continues to decline, to 9% this year, compared with 11% in
  • The percentage of women on boards has increased in all sectors, but
    five sectors have increased to over 20%: Consumer Defensive, Financial
    Services, Healthcare, Technology, and Utilities.

The GDI shows a slightly brighter picture when compared with companies
on the current year Fortune 1000 list. Women held 17.9% of the board
seats in the 2015 Fortune 1000 companies, compared with 16.9% of the
board seats in 2014. Why the difference? The majority of new companies
on the Fortune 1000 lists added are ranked F501-F1000. The research
shows that smaller companies fare worse in their diversity efforts. The
research also shows that companies that drop off the Index tend to have
one or no women, which improves the GDI overall.

“There is a lot to celebrate at the halfway mark of our 10-year
grassroots campaign to raise awareness of the benefits of gender
diversity, but we have yet to create a corporate imperative for
diversified boards,” said Stephanie Sonnabend, co-founder and chair 2020
Women on Boards. “I believe we will reach our goal of 20% or greater
women on boards by the year 2020, but there is still much work to be

“Our current research consistently shows that companies with gender
diversity on their boards are more sustainable. These findings support
the fact that having women in leadership roles and on company boards
makes good business sense,” said Malli Gero, president and co-founder,
2020 Women on Boards.

About 2020 Women on Boards: Founded in Boston in 2010, 2020 Women
on Boards is the national campaign to increase the percentage of women
on U.S. company boards to 20% or greater by the year 2020. 2020 Women On
Boards is well known for its research on the gender composition of
boards of directors, including its proprietary 2020
Gender Diversity Directory
, which ranks companies on a “W” (winning)
to “Z” (zero) scale. 2020 Women On Boards leverages this research with
our one-day National
Conversation on Board Diversity
, held annually on the Thursday
before Thanksgiving, when thousands of C-Suite and senior-level
executives discuss and explore the benefits that women bring to company
boardrooms. On November 19, 2015, thousands of people will advocate for
board diversity in cities throughout the United States. For more
information visit www.2020wob.com.


2020 Women on Boards
Carolyn Assa, 508-333-0397