No parity in boardroom for 40 years
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.