For the first time, more than half of public companies reported that women make up 10 percent or more of their board.Our latest report, Climb to the Top – Tracking Gender Diversity on Corporate Boards, reveals that boards are making slow but steady progress towards gender equality. Using data from Thomson Reuters ASSET4, the study looked at the gender diversity of the boards of more than 4,000 public companies globally.
Results showed that for the first time, more than half of corporate boards reported that 10 percent or more of their board is female. The report also showed that companies with mixed boards continue to perform marginally better, on average, compared to a benchmark index, such as the MSCI World.
Additional findings include:
Global trends indicate a gradual increase in the percentage of companies that have women on their boards with 64% of companies reporting women board members, up from 56% in 2009.
Only 20% of the companies analyzed report having a board consisting of 20% or more women (13% in 2008); however more than half (51%) report boards of 10% or more women (40% in 2008).
From a regional perspective, EMEA has widened its lead in having at least 20% female board members. EMEA has also overtaken the Americas for having at least 10% of female representation on the board since 2009, whilst companies in the Asia Pacific region continue to report having the least gender diverse boards.
Adoption of policies and processes regarding gender diversity and equal opportunity has been increasing and is particularly high among companies in Europe and the Americas. Asia Pacific companies have shown the greatest increase in the implementation of diversity and equal opportunity processes over the last five years, but remain well below the levels reported in other regions.
Indices made up of companies with mixed boards have low but generally positive tracking errors to benchmark, e.g., MSCI World Index; in other words, they outperform their benchmark index. Indices with no women on their boards had slightly higher tracking errors, indicating potentially more volatile portfolios and on average underperformed relative to mixed boards.
By sector, Healthcare, Financial and both Noncyclical and Cyclical Consumer Goods & Services companies lead in gender-diverse boards.
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