Women Fill Just 20% of Fortune 500 Board Seats — But One Company Is Changing That

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Getting more women promoted into top leadership roles is on the short list of many companies these days. And yet, intention doesn’t always materialize into action.
According to one report, conducted by executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles and released earlier this year, the number of female leaders at the top of the corporate chain could be shrinking in some cases. That report found that the number of female directors appointed to Fortune 500 board seats actually declined between 2016 and 2017, and another study published by Deloitte this year determined that women still hold just 20% of Fortune 500 board seats.
Despite this gap, United Technologies Corporation (UTC) is determined to lead by example. Recently, the global aerospace and commercial building company named Harvard’s Dr. Meghan O’Sullivan to its board of directors. Dr. O’Sullivan is the fourth female director on UTC’s 13-member board, and that’s something her fellow board members are “delighted” about, UTC Chairman and CEO Greg Hayes said.

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“Meghan’s strong background in public policy and global issues will be extremely valuable to us as we continue to execute our strategies to deliver customer and shareholder value,” Hayes said.
Dr. O’Sullivan, who serves as Harvard’s Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs and Director of the Geopolitics of Energy Project, helps affirm UTC’s commitment to gender parity, on its board and beyond. Earlier this year, the Fortune 50 company joined the Paradigm for Parity coalition to pledge that women will fill 30% of leadership roles by 2020. UTC took things a step further, though, and announced it aims to have women in a full 50% of these roles by 2030.
This commitment extends to all levels of corporate leadership, as well — and we’ve already seen it honored in the appointment of Judy Marks as President of Otis, the world’s largest manufacturer of elevators and escalators, and a UTC company.
“I’m excited to join the Otis Elevator Co. family and lead a diverse team of talented people who know our industry and markets inside and out,” Marks said when announcing her new position on LinkedIn.
For his part, Hayes called Marks “an innovator and accomplished global leader” and added that her “proven record of driving strategic growth” will help the company continue to innovate in the digital age.
It’s clear that getting more women at the company’s helm is a true priority, something that the women leaving free, anonymous job reviews on Fairygodboss say is reflective of UTC’s commitment to “promoting a culture of equality.”
“UTC is committed to achieving equal gender representation in leadership positions across the company (and) they are pursuing this goal in real, tangible ways,” one woman wrote. Another applauded the way senior leadership is “laser-focused on diversity and inclusion.”
Want to get in at a company that’s truly walking the walk when it comes to promoting women? Check out their open positions — there’s tons of ‘em!
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