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New 2015 Catalyst Census: Overwhelming Majority Of New Directorships Continue To Go To Men, Women Board Seats Not On Path To Parity

Latest Report Shows Dismal Findings at S&P 500 Companies Despite Calls to Diversify Corporate Boards

New York, NY June 14, 2016—Although some U.S. companies are prioritizing board diversity—building it into the fabric of their key talent decision-making—they still have a long way to go before women’s representation on their boards and throughout their executive ranks is near parity with men, according to new data released today from Catalyst, the global expert on accelerating progress for women through workplace inclusion.

The 2015 Catalyst Census: Women and Men Board Directors (2015 Catalyst Census) examines women’s and men's representation on S&P 500 boards of directors, providing critical statistics to gauge women’s progress into leadership and to highlight the gender diversity gap. 

Among the findings:

  • Men held 80.1% of S&P 500 board seats, while women only held 19.9%.

  • Men held 73.1% of S&P 500 new directorships, while women only held 26.9%.

  • 2.8% of S&P 500 companies had zero women directors; 24.6% had one woman; and only 14.2% of companies had 30% or more women on their boards.

  • Within S&P 500 companies, women held: 4.2% of CEO positions, 9.5% of top earner positions, 25.1% of executive/senior-level officials and managers positions, 36.4% of first/mid-level officials and managers positions; also, 44.3% of total employees were women.

“Our new Census 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,” said Deborah Gillis, President and CEO, Catalyst. “Unfortunately, these data indicate that the United States 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.”

Analysis from the 2015 Catalyst Census is based on U.S. companies in the S&P 500 index (owned by Dow Jones LLC Indices) at the time of their 2015 annual meetings as disclosed in proxy statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. A directorship was considered new if the director was not listed in the company’s prior year proxy statement. All data were provided by the EY Center for Board Matters.

In addition, the 2015 Catalyst Census is being presented today for the first time in Washington, D.C., at the United State of Women. Convened by the White House, the summit is rallying together women to celebrate past achievements and future opportunities related to key gender equality issues. Gillis is a featured speaker. 

Download a copy of the 2015 Catalyst Census: Women and Men Board Directors today.

About Catalyst
Founded in 1962, Catalyst is the leading nonprofit organization accelerating progress for women through workplace inclusion. With operations in the United States, Canada, Europe, India, Australia, and Japan, and more than 800 supporting organizations, 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.