Gender Diversity of Board of Directors in Russell 3000 Firms: Q2 2021 | Equilar

Leadership & Culture

The Q2 2021 Equilar Gender Diversity Index (GDI) revealed that women now hold more than a quarter of Russell 3000 board seats, increasing to 25.2% from 15% just five years ago. Nearly 47% of directors added to boards in Q2 were women. However, the report notes that women have a long way to reach parity, which is currently at the halfway point. One major issue holding back the increased prevalence of women on boards is their ability to access the pipeline roles (such as CEO and CFO) leading to director positions. While the number of women in C-suite positions continues to rise, they are often in roles that are not as commonly sought after for board experience—such as human resources, administration, GC/chief legal officer, marketing, and accounting. In 2021, over 60% of chief human resources officer (CHRO) roles in the Russell 3000 belonged to women, up from 38.3% in 2012. However, just 5.6% of CEO positions and 13.7% of CFO positions in the Russell 3000 were occupied by women in 2021. You can check out a July 2021 Forbes article by Naveen BhatejaEVP, Chief People Officer at Medidata Solutions—that provides three reasons for why now is the time to make sure every board has a CHRO member.

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