Trends for Women on Boards
The following BOSTON GLOBE article makes the point that the higher the corporate sales,
the more likely that the organization will have women on its Board.
We think that are there plenty of well qualified women who could do a great job of helping
pre-IPO companies in the role of Board members.
We welcome women-and all competent executives---to apply to our Board of Directors Talent
Bank. Thus far over 12% of our Talent Bank people have been approached to serve on
Keep in mind, however, that admission to the Board of Director Talent Bank requires that
your credentials be screened. Thus far, only 15% of those who apply to the Talent
Bank are admitted.
Check out the Board of Directors Talent Bank at www.stybelpeabody.com.
Website: www.stybelpeabody.com (The Board
of Directors Career Center)
Board Gains Seen for Women
By Diane E. Lewis, Globe Staff
Women now hold 11.2 percent of all board seats in the Fortune 500 companies, up from 8.3
percent six years ago when a New York research group began monitoring their progress.
Catalyst, which has been studying women in business for years, said in a report yesterday
that 685 of the 6,120 board seats at Fortune 500 firms are occupied by women, suggesting
some progress has been made since the group began its annual survey. But there is still
work to be done. The study of women's board participation at top US firms found that the
percentage of seats held by US businesswomen grew only 0.1 percentage point in 1999.
Moreover, only two Fortune 500 companies reported an equal number of women and men - or
more women - on their boards.
Catalyst, which had restricted its survey to Fortune 500 firms in the
past, expanded its study this year to include the nation's top 1,000 companies, measured
by revenues. It found that women in this category hold only 8.5 percent of board seats.
Catalyst believes the disparity may have to do with revenue: The higher a company's
revenue, the more likely it will invite a woman to join its board. Sheila Wellington,
president of Catalyst, said yesterday the research group's goal is to advance women in
business by focusing on those companies in the Fortune 1,000 and Fortune 500 that have not
yet integrated their executive boards. Jann Leeming, owner of Golf at Provence Lake, a
golf course in Parsonsfield, Maine, and a member of five boards, said the news was both
good and bad. ''Is it significant?'' she asked. ''Yes and no. The problem is that the
companies all want the token woman. Many times, you'll find, the same women are serving on
so many boards they cannot do the job they would like to do. ''There are a lot of
qualified women out there,'' said Leeming, ''but it's the same old stuff. They want
high-profile women, women who are associated with very large companies. But women are only
now beginning to make it to the very top echelons of companies.''
When the research group looked at board participation rates of minority
women at top US firms, it found they hold only 159 seats on the executive boards of 777
companies. Of those women, 111 are African-American, 25 are Hispanic, and 18 are Asian.
The racial backgrounds of five were not available. ''It takes an active chief executive
officer and a committed board to bring businesswomen with a wide range of experience onto
a board,'' said Donna Latson Gittens, president and chief executive of Watertown marketing
communications firm cause media inc. ''But the common response is, well, we could not find
a woman with a financial background, or we could not find a woman who has run a major
business,'' added Gittens, who is African-American. ''The women are out there, but you
have to look.''
Hoping to increase the number of women in top executive positions in the Boston area,
members of The Boston Club, an organization of woman executives, plans to conduct a census
of woman executives and board members at public and private firms with revenues of $50
million or more. Bernice A. Cramer, president of Next Frame Inc., a Boston consumer
consultancy, and head of The Boston Club research effort, said the firms with the least
representation on their boards are often consumer products companies that serve large
numbers of women. ''How can these [companies] pretend to understand customers without
having more women in senior management?''