Corporate boards still male dominated

By Steven Lamb | February 19, 2004 | Last updated on February 19, 2004
1 min read

(February 19, 2004) Women are making progress in Canada’s business world, but still only represent 11% of the country’s corporate directors, according to a survey conducted by research group Catalyst.

While that is an improvement from 9.8% in 2001, it shows women remain under-represented in the boardroom. In fact, 51.4% of boards have no women directors, unchanged from 2001. The survey was based on the National Post’s Financial Post 500, the 500 largest companies in Canada.

“At 11.2%, women’s representation on the FP 500 boards clearly does not reflect their influence and impact on the Canadian economy as wage earners, managers, professionals, consumers, investors, and business owners,” said Catalyst vice president Dr. Susan Black.

Crown corporations showed the highest proportion of women directors, with 23.7% representation. Publicly-traded companies drag the average down to 11.2% and only three of those 243 boards had a female chair.

“The Catalyst board census provides a marker for women’s representation in Canadian boardrooms. If we want more women on boards, we need to keep letting the corporate community know how it is doing,” said Black. “We shine a light on the success stories in the business community and we hold a mirror up to companies and industries that have an opportunity for improvement.”

Considering Canada’s progressive self-image, what may be most surprising is that this country lags behind the U.S. American boards are 13.6% female and 89.2% of the Fortune 500 have at least one female board member.

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Steven Lamb