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The Dearth of Women on Corporate Boards: A Sector Breakdown

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Multiple reports have found that the more women a company has in the C-suite or on the board, the better it — and its stock — performs.

Despite that conclusion and the growing number of institutional investors that are pushing for more women on corporate boards, including State Street, BlackRock and Vanguard, few U.S.public companies have female CEOs or a substantial percentage of female directors.

According to a new report by FactSet, 151 companies in the Russell 3000,  which provides exposure to the entire U.S. stock market, have female CEOs. Even though that’s up from 143 in 2017, it’s equivalent to just 5.1% of companies in the index. The average percentage of women on corporate boards of Russell 3000 companies is about 17%.

That’s just a little over half the percentage sought by a growing number of institutional investors who are members of the 30% Club, which are pushing for 30% representation of women on corporate boards. State Street, BlackRock, Vanguard, Citigroup, Ariel Investments and TIAA are among the club’s members, and for the most part they have achieved that target themselves (the BlackRock percentage is 28%: Citigroup, 29.4%).

In addition, California recently passed legislation banning all-male boards of directors for public companies based in the state, beginning at the end of 2019. By 2021, the law requires at least two female board members on boards with five directors and three female board members on boards with six or more directors. And State Street recently announced that starting in 2020 it will vote against all members of company’s board nominee slate if there are no women on the board.

FactSet recently broke down the numbers and percentages of female CEOs and board members by sector based on an analysis of constituent companies in the Russell 3000 — which actually totals 2,950 — as of Sept. 19.  

Check out the gallery to see how the nine different sectors stack up for representation of women on their boards and as CEOs. The sectors are listed in descending order starting with the sector that has the highest percentage of companies with no women on boards, to the lowest. Also included are the number of total companies in each sector, the average percentage of women on boards and the percentage of female CEOs.

— Check out Lack of Advisor Diversity Is ‘Frustrating’: Raymond James CEO on ThinkAdvisor.