by Paul Hodgson, CCO and Senior Research Associate, GMI
GMI Ratings’ 2012 Women on Boards survey includes data on over 4,300 companies in 45 countries around the globe. The results show incremental improvement in most measures of female board representation since our 2011 report. The main findings include:
• 10.5 percent of the directors in our coverage universe are now women, a 0.7 percentage point increase from last year
• At the same time, the percentage of companies with no female directors at all has fallen below 40 percent for the first time, to 39.8 percent (a 2 percentage point decrease since last year)
• The percentage of companies with at least three women has risen by 1.3 percentage points, to just under one-tenth (9.8 percent) of companies worldwide
However, these global statistics mask significant differences between individual countries and between industrialized economies and emerging markets. For example, when the world’s industrialized economies are viewed as a group, 11.1 percent of directors are women, 63.3 percent of companies have at least one woman on the board, and 10.5 percent of companies have three or more female directors. For emerging markets as a group, only 7.2 percent of directors are women, 44.3 percent of companies have at least one woman on the board, and 6.3 percent of companies have at least three female directors. What’s more, national variations even within market blocks can differ widely. For example, Norway’s boards have 36.3 percent female representation, while Italy has only 4.5 percent. Japan has only 1.1 percent, but Hong Kong has 9.4 percent.
“This heterogeneity reflects the wide range of approaches countries are taking with respect to board diversity,” said Director of Research Kimberly Gladman, PhD, one of the authors of the report. “In the past year, France has seen the largest increase in female directors, due to a legal requirement. Australia has also made significant gains, in response to a corporate governance code change and a mentoring program by the Australian Institute of Company Directors. In the US, progress is slow, but many investors are pressing for change, and initiatives like GMI Ratings’ Diverse Director Datasource (3D) are expanding the potential director pool.”
In addition, numbers of women on boards have slipped in some emerging markets. Ms. Gladman commented: “This is just speculation, but a lot of our analysts who study the emerging markets (and the head of the Brazilian corporate governance authority we quoted in the report) suggest that many women in positions of power in those countries may be appointed because they are family members of the founding dynasties that dominate the economies, or are government appointees (as in China). So falling numbers of female execs might be a sign of modernization in those economies, as the companies and the capital markets are less controlled by governments and a few titans of industry and their sons and daughters and wives.”
Of course, cultural and governance differences can account for much of these differences. In countries where boards are elected annually, change will be much more rapid than in those economies where directors have three, four or five year terms.
Initiatives in two countries – France and Australia – led to those countries seeing the highest increases in the proportion of women on boards. In France, legislation led to an increase in the proportion of women directors from 12.7 percent to 16.6 percent. In fact, almost nine out of 10 companies in France have at least one woman director. While in Australia, a corporate governance code amendment led to the proportion rising from 10.2 percent to 13.8 percent.
Section II of the report presents, in graphical form:
• Global aggregate percentages of female directors, chairs and committee positions, as well as the Industrialized and Emerging Markets breakdown
• The percentage of female directors
• The percentage of companies with at least one woman on the board, and
• The percentage of companies with at least three women
Each of these statistics is presented for 20 industrialized countries and 10 emerging market economies, along with the relevant economic market baseline figures.
The third section of the report discusses ten countries of particular interest (six in the industrialized world and four in emerging markets), presenting the data points shown in Section II’s global aggregates table for each specific country. These countries are:
5. United States
7. South Africa
The final section of the report describes our methodology and includes a tabular presentation of the data for all the countries in our coverage universe.
Support Board Diversity
Leading investors and corporations agree that director diversity improves the quality of board discussions and decisionmaking, and contributes to organizational and financial performance. Nominating committees seeking to increase board diversity, however, sometimes struggle to find an adequate pool of candidates through traditional sources.
To help companies find qualified women and minorities, as well as other candidates with a diverse range of backgrounds, skills and experience, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System recently commissioned GMI Ratings to create the Diverse Director DataSource (3D). Potential directors nominate themselves for inclusion in the database, providing extensive detail on their qualifications and interests. Free to candidates and available to companies, search firms, and others by subscription, 3D is expanding the potential director pool substantially. The database includes a growing group of highly-accomplished professionals, including some who may not have prior service on a public board.
For more information, visit our website at www.gmi3D.com.
By Mickael M|
Great article. I suggest this article that shows how EU groups push for women in top roles : http://tmblr.co/ZhUDCwHIss6c