In 2017, we had the #MeToo movement. In 2018, we had the fall of countless prominent businessmen at the hands of sexual harassment scandals, as well as the California legislation requiring publicly traded companies in the state to have at least one woman on their board by the end of 2019. So, how about 2019?
This year, we hit a number of important milestones. Today, every company in the S&P 500 has at least one woman on their board. More than 20% of board seats at Russell 3000 companies are held by women. These milestones have been well-reported so, we wanted to share with you our observations of progress towards gender parity in the boardroom in 2019.
The first dramatic change we noted this year was the activation of the pipeline. We’ve all known for a long time that an incredible pipeline of female board talent exists but sadly, remained somewhat hidden from the often homogenous and limited networks that drive board recruitment. No longer. This year theBoardlist added almost 6,000 new users to the platform. More than ever, women raised their hands, shifting the pipeline from hidden to activated. Even with this level of growth, we continue to build a highly selective, premium talent community, with 75% of our members at the board director or C-suite level.
And, there’s plenty of evidence that there is more to come. theBoardlist held candidate events across North America this year - New York, Montreal, Vancouver, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco - with nearly 1,000 board-ready attendees in total.
Second, the demand for female board directors continues to build. And, public companies aren’t the only ones making headway. theBoardlist had over 300 companies search for candidates on theBoardlist, 75% of which were private companies.
A staggering 153 women on theBoardlist joined 193 boards in 2019. The boards they joined range from Fortune 100 companies like HP, Colgate-Palmolive and Paypal to unicorns like Reddit and Gusto to hyper-growth startups like inDinero to non-profits like the Pew Research Center and the National Women’s History Museum.
While some of the women on the list are seasoned board directors, 26% are serving on their very first board which is both evidence of boards’ willingness to forgo previous board experience in favor of specific functional or industry expertise, familiarity with emerging technologies and deep understanding of the millennial customer as well as the quality and bench strength of the female board talent pipeline.
Finally, in 2019, we saw a true collaboration develop between the many organizations working to help get women on boards. theBoardlist has been delighted to announce new partnerships with YPO, Chief, Women in Product, Declare, Advancing Women in Product, EGAL, The Alumni Society, LC Wins and Women in Capital Markets.
While we still have a long way to go to reach our mission of gender parity in the boardroom, we look at 2019 as a year of immense progress and a harbinger of more to come. Thank you for being a part of our community and we hope to see you in a boardroom in 2020!
‘Tis the season for giving. At theBoardlist we truly believe that our endorsement model is one of the best tools for gifting an opportunity to great woman in your network. Using your power to help advance someone's career, watch them thrive and leverage their knowledge, skills and passion to benefit great people, companies and causes, is a gift we can all get behind. Join our community and #ChoosePossibility.