2005 Catalyst Census: Fortune 500
This year marks the tenth year that Catalyst has counted the number of women serving on Fortune 500 boards. The census lists women board directors alphabetically by company, and provides lists of the numbers of women directors and total directors by company revenue, industry, and state. The report also documents the number of women directors of color.
Impetus: In 1993, Catalyst began to produce an annual census to clarify the status of women on the boards of the largest companies in the United States . The census was designed to establish accurate statistics, to create a way to use the standard practice of benchmarking to promote women's advancement, and to generate focused attention on this issue.
- Catalyst analyzed the boards of each company in the Fortune 500, as published in April 2005.
- In May 2005, Catalyst sent letters to our contact for each company to verify the total number of board directors as well as the name, gender, and race of each director. In addition, we asked whether the person was an outside or inside board member and for the names of the chairman of the board, the chair of the Audit committee, the chair of the Nominating/Governance committee, and the chair of the compensation committee. Our verification rate in 2005 was 62 percent.
- For those companies that did not take the opportunity to verify the data, Catalyst has reported the unverified data we obtained from public records.
- Research teams audited all data multiple times, comparing printouts from the database with the verification from companies and public records to ensure accuracy.
- The report represents the gender diversity of corporate governance at Fortune 500 companies as of April 1, 2005.
Findings: Catalyst has been counting women serving on Fortune 500 boards since 1995, when women held 9.6 percent of board seats in Fortune 500 companies. In 2005, women hold 14.7 percent of board seats at Fortune 500 companies, an average increase of 0.5 percentage points per year. Almost 90 percent of companies had at least one women board director, up 0.2 percentage points from 2003. Sixty-four companies had 25 percent or more women directors, compared with 54 companies in 2003. Despite these steady improvements the pace of change remains slow. Women serving on multiple boards decreased slightly from 2003. In addition, progress for women of color on boards increased at an even slower rate. Women of color hold just 3.4 percent of all Fortune 500 board seats. The share of board seats held by women of color fell 0.6 percentage points between 2003 and 2005.
Sponsor: DuPont, Heidrick & Struggles