There is a greater proportion of female non-employee chairs in the Russell 3000 excluding the S&P 500 than there is in the S&P 500

April 26, 2023

Women Taking More Board Seats, But Progress Mixed

Women Taking More Board Seats, But Progress Mixed

Below is an excerpt from ISS Corporate Solutions’ recently released paper “Women Taking More Board Seats, But Progress Mixed” The full paper is available for download from the ISS Corporate Solutions (ICS) online library.


To mark Women’s History Month in March, ISS Corporate Solutions (ICS) examined the latest trends in gender diversity among U.S. public company (Russell 3000) boards and C-suites. We tracked the progress, from 2020 to the beginning of 2023, of female representation on boards, the proportion of women in leadership roles, the percentage of women CEOs, chairs, lead directors, and named executive officers. We also compared changes among the largest publicly traded companies with small and mid-cap businesses.

Key Takeaways:

  • The proportion of women directorships has increased steadily since 2020, approaching almost one-third of the total among S&P 500 companies.
  • The utilities sector far outpaces all other sectors in terms of the proportion of women on boards, in CEO roles and board leadership positions.
  • Women have made greater inroads into leadership positions such as lead director than as CEO.
  • The proportion of female CEOs at energy companies has fallen by more than 50% since 2020, while it has risen in virtually all other industries.
  • The proportion of female executives has also increased since 2020, but lags the growth in directorships.

Authored by:
Paul Hodgson, Senior Editor, ISS Corporate Solutions
Ramy Ibrahim, Associate Director, ISS Corporate Solutions

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