50/50 Women on Boards Reveals Gender Diversity Index Key Findings, Largest Year-Over-Year Increase in Women on Corporate Boards on the Russell 3000

Gaby M. Rojas

50/50 Women on Boards™ (50/50WOB), a leading non-profit education and advocacy campaign driving the movement toward gender balance and diversity on corporate boards, announced that as of June 30, 2021, women hold 25.6% of the Russell 3000 company board seats, an increase from 22.6% in 2020, 20.4% in 2019, 17.7% in 2018 and 16% in 2017. The three-percentage point increase from 2020 to 2021 is the largest year-over-year increase in the past four years and is a 9.6 percentage increase since 2017. If increases continue this track, corporate boards are estimated to be gender-balanced by the year 2029.

Using data provided by Equilar, 50/50 Women on Boards Gender Diversity Index™ Key Findings also reveal that the percentage of women of the 100 largest companies of the Russell 3000 Index is 32.1%, up from 29.9% in 2020. And of the smallest 1,000 companies the percentage of women in 2021 is 22.0%, up from is 18.2% in 2020. Currently 1,602 board members, including 126 women and 1,476 men, have served on their respective boards for more than two decades.

“In the last four years, there has been a nearly 10% increase in women on boards. We applaud the corporations and executive leaders who have taken deliberate actions to build gender balanced and diverse boards,” said Stephanie Sonnabend, Co-Founder and Chair of 50/50 Women on Boards. “However, we recommend that companies continue to self-evaluate their board needs and are intentional about diversifying their boards to better represent their employees, customers and investors.”

Other significant YOY key findings:

215 or (7%) of Russell 3000 Index companies are Gender Balanced (GB), up from 5% in Q2 2020.

1,023 (34%) of Russell 3000 Index companies have 3+ women, the same percentage that have 2 women.

One quarter of the companies have one or no women on their boards, including 110 or 4% with no women. A significant improvement from 2017 when over 50% of the companies had one or no women on their boards.

Of the 1,843 board directors who joined boards in the first half of 2021, 799 or 43% were women. This is a similar percentage to the last six months of 2020, but significantly higher than the first six months of 2020 when the percentage was only 37%.

Only 17% of board directors self-report their race and ethnicity and only 12% of board directors are people of color, 5% women and 7% men. However, of those directors who have joined boards in the past year, 25% are people of color including 12% women of color and 13% men of color.

Of the 25 states with 20 or more public companies headquartered in that state, 12 have 25% or more women on boards. The top three states in percentage of women on boards are Washington, California, and Michigan.

Nevada, Florida, and Pennsylvania have the least number of women on their boards.

7 of the 11 sectors designated by Yahoo! Finance have more than 25% of women on boards.

“Since its inception, 50/50 Women on Boards has tracked publicly traded companies and has been a leader in education and advocacy, driving the movement toward gender balance and diversity on corporate boards,” said Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire, CEO of 50/50 Women on Boards. “Clearly, there is more work to be done to achieve women holding 50% of all corporate board seats and women of color holding at least 20% of all corporate board seats. We will continue to educate, advocate, collaborate, and report on the research to advance women including women of color to corporate boards.”

To read the full report, please visit:

About 50/50 Women on Boards (50/50WOB)

50/50 Women on Boards™ (50/50WOB), a nonprofit 501(c)3, is a leading education and advocacy campaign driving the movement toward gender balance and diversity on corporate boards. The campaign publishes its 50/50 Women on Boards Gender Diversity Index™ directory and research reports to track the gender composition of corporate boards on the Russell 3000 by board size, state, sector, and rating. Public awareness campaigns and educational programs produced by 50/50WOB include The Global Conversation on Board Diversity™; Get on Board! workshops for board-ready women; and Path to the Boardroom™ workshops for mid-career women aspiring to serve on boards. For more information visit:

SOURCE 50/50 Women on Boards




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