Women under-represented on boards globally
Women are still largely underrepresented on corporate boards worldwide, despite continued efforts to improve boardroom gender diversity.
The fifth edition of Deloitte Global’s Women in the Boardroom: A Global Perspective publication explores the efforts of 64 countries, including New Zealand, to promote boardroom gender diversity. The report reveals that women hold just 15 percent of board seats worldwide. These numbers show only modest progress from 2015.
Deloitte New Zealand partner Peter Gulliver says that for the first time, the publication includes a region-by-region analysis of the relationship between corporate leadership and diversity, and direct correlation was found between female leadership (CEOs and board chairs) to board seats held by women.
“Organisations with women in the top leadership positions have almost doubled the number of board seats held by women. The inverse is true as well, with gender diverse boards more likely to appoint a female CEO and board chair,” says Gulliver in a statement.
“This illustrates an important trend – as the number of female CEOs and board chairs climbs, it is likely to spur greater board diversity. Yet, the percentage of women securing top leadership roles remains very low, with women holding only four percent of CEO and board chair positions globally,” he says.
The report includes a small sample (18) of New Zealand companies and finds that New Zealand does above average compared to the global sample, with 28 percent of board seats and 11 percent of board chairs held by women. None of the companies analysed have female CEOs.
Gulliver says AUT’s New Zealand Census of Women on Boards 2017 shows that the number of women on the boards of NZX top 100 companies was 22 percent. However, according to AUT, the number of female board chairs and CEOs of the top 100 companies has not changed since 2012, holding steady at seven and three percent respectively.
Globally the findings include: • In the US and Canada, only 14 and 18 percent of board seats respectively are held by women. And the percent of female board chairs has not progressed, remaining at just under four percent in the US and dropping to five percent in Canada. • In Latin and South America overall, only seven percent of board seats are held by women and two percent of board chairs are women. • Norway, the first country to ever introduce a gender quota, has the highest percentage of board seats held by women (42 percent). Seven percent of board chair positions are held by women. • In the UK, there are no quotas in place for women on boards, but 20 percent of board seats and three percent of board chair positions are held by women. • At eight percent, gender diversity in some of Asia’s leading economies is the lowest compared to other parts of the world. Only a few countries in the region have quotas or other approaches to address the issue.