No par­ity in board­room for 40 years

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Jeff Green

Women, who make up half the Amer­i­can work­force, would be 40 years from par­ity with men on U.S. cor­po­rate boards even if fe­male direc­tors filled seats at twice the cur­rent rate, the U.S. Gov­ern­ment Ac­count­abil­ity Of­fice said in a new re­port.

About 23 per­cent of open seats in the Stan­dard & Poor’s 1500 In­dex went to women in 2014, ac­cord­ing to the GAO. If that fig­ure rose to about 50 per­cent — or half of all open­ings — boards would be evenly split be­tween women and men by roughly 2055, the re­port said. Women held about 16 per­cent of board seats in the S&P 1500 in 2014, up from 8 per­cent in 1997.

Euro­pean coun­tries in­clud­ing Swe­den and France have im­posed quo­tas to get more women on boards, and the U.K. has moved the nee­dle with a non­bind­ing push from the gov­ern­ment and pub­lic com­mit­ments by cor­po­rate chair­men. More than 350 of 1,846 U.S. pub­lic com­pa­nies have no women, and an ad­di­tional 628 have only one, ac­cord­ing to 2020.

The GAO said sev­eral fac­tors in­hibit more rapid change, in­clud­ing a lack of women in ex­ec­u­tive po­si­tions and low turnover of board seats. About 600 board seats change hands each year among the S&P 1500.

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