Big Quit slows gender parity on S&P 500 boards

The Great Resignation is complicating efforts to achieve gender parity in S&P 500 boardrooms, Bloomberg reported May 20. 

While many organizations are adding more women to their boards, some women are stepping down to retire or pursue other opportunities.

"Many of the groundbreakers, the first women to join boards, are just now coming off boards," Julie Daum, a leader at recruitment firm Spencer Stuart, told Bloomberg.

In April, 17 S&P 500 companies increased the number of women on their boards, while 11 companies reduced the number of female directors, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In healthcare specifically, there was a net decline of two female directors, with Humana and Centene both losing female board members. 

However, Bloomberg noted that the overall share of women on boards could still improve in the future, because there are likely many more men reaching retirement age than women. 

Sachi Vora, a partner at recruiting firm Heidrick & Struggles, told Bloomberg the pipeline of women joining public boards is improving. Specifically, Ms. Vora said that last year, 45 percent of new directors were women and 41 percent were members of under-represented groups at Fortune 500 companies. She said this may eventually help diversify public boards. 

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