Catalyst Charts Slow Growth Of Women On Corporate Boards

Compiled By Jill Jusko The number of women taking seats on corporate boards of directors is growing, but the pace is best described as slow. According to just released data from the 2001 Census of Women Board Directors of the Fortune 1000, women hold 10.9% of all board seats in Fortune 1000 companies, up from 10% in 1999, and 12.4% of all board seats in the Fortune 500 up from 11.2% in 1999. "If the rate of change remains constant in the [Fortune 500], women will occupy 25% of all board seats by 2027," says Sheila Wellington, president of Catalyst, the organization that conducted the survey. New York-based Catalyst is a non-profit group that works to advance women in business. "We have not cracked the glass ceiling yet, but women are slowly chipping away at it." In hard numbers, the number of board seats in Fortune 500 companies held by women increased from 626 in 1996 to 735 in 2001. Between 1993 and 1996 the number of companies with at least one woman on their board rose from 345 to 417. There are now at least 430 companies in the Fortune 500 with at least one woman on their board. In other findings:

  • The number of Fortune 1000 companies with more than two women on their board of directors is 317 in 2001, up from 296 in 1999.
  • Sixty-seven of the Fortune 500 have no women board members.
  • Women of color comprise about 2% of the Fortune 1000 board seats and 18.1% of the board seats held by women.
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