News and Announcements

Catalyst 2012 Census of Fortune 500: No Change for Women in Top Leadership

Catalyst Announces Unique Resource of CEO-Endorsed Board-Qualified Women

NEW YORK (December 11, 2012)—Despite high-profile news about gender gaps, equal pay, and women on boards, once again the needle barely budged for women aspiring to top business leadership in corporate America, according to the 2012 Catalyst Census: Fortune 500 Women Board Directors and 2012 Catalyst Census: Fortune 500 Executive Officers and Top Earners.

Among the findings:

  • Women’s share of Board Director and Executive Officer positions increased by only half a percentage point or less during the past year.
  • Women held only 16.6 percent of board seats in 2012—the seventh consecutive year of no growth.   
  • Women held 14.3 percent of Executive Officer positions—flat-lined for the third straight year.
  • Women of color held only 3.3 percent of board seats, indicating no growth.
  • More than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies had no women of color board directors for the fifth consecutive year.
  • Women held only 8.1 percent of top earner slots.
  • Read more.

Responding to this challenge, Catalyst has initiated the Catalyst Corporate Board Resource, which enables Catalyst’s highly respected Board Directors and member company CEOs to recommend women they personally sponsor and endorse as “corporate board-ready.” According to Catalyst, this initiative will generate a unique directory that Catalyst member companies can access as a first resource when directorships become available. Read more.

“This initiative helps to counter the notion that board-qualified women are hard to find,” said Ilene H. Lang, President & CEO, Catalyst. “Our member company CEOs can directly impact and increase gender diversity in their own boardrooms and at others where they have influence, providing extraordinary leadership opportunities for top women executives.”  

Additional relevant resources:

Mentor Circle Sponsor: Ernst & Young

Research Partners:
Bloomberg, BMO Financial Group, Chevron Corporation, Credit Suisse, Dell Inc., Deloitte LLP, Desjardins Group, Deutsche Bank AG, Ernst & Young, General Motors Company, Hewlett-Packard Company, IBM Corporation, KeyBank, McDonald’s Corporation, Sodexo Inc., UPS

Founded in 1962, Catalyst is the leading nonprofit membership organization expanding opportunities for women and business. With offices in the United States, Canada, Europe, and India, and more than 500 preeminent corporations as members, Catalyst is the trusted resource for research, information, and advice about women at work. Catalyst annually honors exemplary organizational initiatives that promote women's advancement with the Catalyst Award.