How Companies Explain Not Having Female Board Members

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Sad Face

Creative Commons

May 25, 2024 at 11:21PM UTC

“No comment” has never meant so much.

When Fortune magazine recently investigated the number of Fortune 500 employers whose boards were 100% male, they were disappointed. They found that 24 companies in the Fortune 500 index had no female directors, and this was slightly worse than the tally in 2015 which found 23 employers had all-male boards.

To be fair, the composition of the Fortune 500 does change from year to year and on an apples-to-apples basis, from the 2015 list, 3 companies with all-male boards last year have added at least one woman to their ranks. However, there are still 18 companies who simply made no progress since last year.

Moreover, only 5 of those 18 companies even responded to Fortune about the composition of their boards. We denoted the companies who responded with an “*” with the exception of Peter Kiewit Sons whose response can be fairly summed up as “No comment."

Some of the above employers have been reviewed by female employees on our site — and we imagine they can’t be thrilled about the lack of women on their own boards. If you are, or know a woman at these employers, we’d love you to hear from you.

At Fairygodboss, we understand that much has been written here and by many other publications about how we’re a long way off from gender parity in the workplace. However, we also are generally optimistic that transparency helps create change. For example, an effort led by the Davies Commission in the U.K. which involved regular publication of the FTSE 100 companies that had all-male boards, helped create public pressure for change. In combination with other tactics, this ultimately resulted in all of the UK's largest public 100 firms electing at least one female board member within 5 years.

Hopefully, publishing a list the way that Fortune has done will help create some momentum to improve the numbers next year.


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