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  • Owl Editor

Women are taking seats on boards and in executive management roles amid the great Resignation

Updated: Apr 20, 2022

With COVID-19 still rampant, it's interesting to look at the economic impact of this global health crisis in the U.S. labor market, especially for women in management or leadership roles. Here are some telling developments!

Leadership opportunities for women

The number of women securing positions in executive leadership roles and on corporate boards increased over 300% from 2017 to 2021. Of the 301 available CEO jobs among Russell 3000 companies, 31 were taken by female candidates. This is an increase from just nine hires for 171 open positions in 2017.

Data shows that there has been an increase in the number of women entering executive roles, but there is still a long way left! In 2021, only 6.1% of companies in the Russell 3000 had female CEOs, 7.8% female presidents, and 9.5% female CIOs.

Representation on Boards

It's encouraging to see that more companies are beginning to operate with an even split of men and women on their boards. In 2021, 46% percent of Russell 300 companies had two or more female representation while in 2018 this number was only at 36%. And the number of companies with greater than 30% women on their boards increased 16.8 percentage points during this same period!

In this day and age, it's not just a matter of regulation anymore. Pressure from investors in financial markets is proving to be more effective than the rules put forth by the SEC and Nasdaq when driving corporate diversity initiatives forward. As investors increasingly focus on ESG standards, companies will be forced to respond with progressive action.

Room to improve on gender equality

Looking at the Russell 3000 through an environmental, social and governance lens also surfaces some interesting trends. Analyzing information from 100,000 plus vetted sources, TrueValue Labs scored performance on Gender Equality by industry using a scale of 0 to 100. 50 represents a neutral assessment; the closer the score is to 100 the more positive the sentiment, and the closer the score is to zero, the more negative the sentiment.

Utilities was the best performing sector with a Gender Equality Insight Score of 46.69. This was followed by Non-Energy Materials and Healthcare. Interestingly all sectors saw negative sentiment around alignment with achieving gender equality in 2021, even as the gender equality score in the Russell 3000 universe is improving.

While regulations and rules are helping to move the needle, pressure from investors and financial markets can be more effective in driving corporate diversity initiatives. As investors increasingly focus on ESG standards, companies will be forced to respond with progressive action.

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