BoardEx have published a report that is a comparative study of global gender diversity across the major global indices. It looks at the performance of the corporations that make up the principal global equity indices at an aggregate level and evaluates progress on increasing female participation at the board, executive director and non-executive director levels. It also briefly considers the position for leadership teams at these firms.
Measurement of board gender diversity is only part of the story as there remains a significant difference between the ratios achieved at executive and non-executive levels. This suggests that women are more likely to be found in oversight roles rather than positions that exert more direct power or command significant resources.
It appears that there is still substantial ground to be made up at the level of leadership teams. This is important and not only because of the seniority of the roles. These positions are also vital for preparing incumbents to reach the most senior executive board levels, including chief executive officer. Insufficient women in leadership teams suggests that there may be a shortage of suitably qualified women to fill board (and, especially, executive) level vacancies in the future.
Progress is not uniform across sectors, with some sector groups, such as retail, outperforming the average, whereas others, such as diversified industrials, lag their peers. These differences may be owing to geographical, sectoral or educational variances, but further research is needed for clarification.
The report closes with a brief discussion of the impact of quotas. The evidence suggests that they are an effective tool to increase board gender diversity and may also encourage firms to improve their practice in areas that currently do not have quotas.
To obtain a copy of the report please click on this link.