Women hold 20% of board seats at S&P 500 companies

Women's progress in corporate America looks dismal, based on findings from Catalyst that were presented Tuesday at the United State of Women Summit in Washington, D.C.

Catalyst, a nonprofit dedicated to accelerating women's workplace inclusion, reported that women accounted for just 19.9 percent of board seats at S&P 500 companies in 2015. The group also found women hold just 26.9 percent of new directorships, indicating these companies are not about to close in on the gender gap any time soon.

"Our new [study] shows little progress has been made at the board level, and even less progress has been made in the pipeline for women officers and directors — suggesting women are nowhere near the path to parity with men. Men continue to be overrepresented, holding more than their fair share of board seats and, in some cases, all the board seats," Deborah Gillis, president and CEO of Catalyst, said in a statement. Catalyst found 2.8 percent of S&P 500 companies had no women directors in 2015. About 25 percent had a token woman director.

"Unfortunately, these data indicate that the U.S. stands in stark contrast to other countries where intentional, bold action is being taken by businesses and governments to accelerate meaningful, sustainable change. U.S. companies are missing opportunities to achieve gender diversity," Ms. Gillis added.

Even within companies, gender parity is still a distant goal. Catalyst found only 4.2 percent of S&P 500 companies had female CEOs and just 9.5 percent of top-earning positions were held by women. And while women account for 44.3 percent of all employees at S&P 500 companies, just 25 percent of executive or senior-level official or manager positions were held by women and 36.4 percent of first/mid-level officials and managers were women in 2015.


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