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Ernst &Young: Women are joining US corporate boards

By Rob Starr, Content Manager, Big4.com

New research about women on US corporate boards shows that women are joining boards at a higher rate and that boards that already have at least one female director are most likely to add more.

Getting on Board, Women join boards at higher rates, though progress comes slowly , a new report from Ernst & Young LLP, reviews the changes in gender diversity on US corporate boards from 2006 to 2012, looks at the backgrounds and qualifications of female directors and examines the roles women have once they join boards.

Comparing the percentage of board seats filled by women at S&P 1500 companies in 2012 with those from 2006 shows only a three percentage point increase – from 11% to 14% – over six years. While there are fewer companies with no female directors on their boards today than just a few years ago, this change has occurred at a sluggish pace.

An in depth analysis of the backgrounds of women joining boards over the past two years shows that boards are not limiting recruitment to former or sitting CEOs. Although current and former public company executives represent the largest professional background category, 80% of these are held by women who served in executive positions other than CEO.

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