Number of women on boards going up, but still low

By Staff | September 28, 2016 | Last updated on September 28, 2016
2 min read

There are more women on the boards of public companies, but large firms still lead the way in bringing representation closer to par, finds a CSA review.

The review found that in the case of the 215 issuers with a market capitalization over $1 billion, 18% of board seats are now held by women, compared with 16% last year, and in the case of the 42 largest issuers with a market capitalization over $10 billion, these numbers are 23% and 21%, respectively.

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Among the issuer sample, 55% have at least one woman on their boards (an increase of 6% over last year), and 66 issuers (or 10%) have three or more women on their boards, compared to 56 issuers (or 8%) last year. The percentage of issuers that have at least one woman in an executive officer position remained relatively stable, and the total percentage of board seats occupied by women has increased from 11% to 12%.

The review also found that issuers that have a policy relating to the representation of women on their boards have average female board representation of 18%, compared to an average of 10% at companies with no policy. Similarly, issuers with board targets have an average of 25% female board representation compared to issuers without targets that average 10% female representation.

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The securities regulatory authorities in Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Québec, Saskatchewan and Yukon published CSA Multilateral Staff Notice 58-308 Staff Review of Women on Boards and in Executive Officer Positions – Compliance with NI 58-101 Disclosure of Corporate Governance Practices.

The CSA reviewed 677 non-venture issuers. This is the second review following the implementation of rules under National Instrument 58-101 Disclosure of Corporate Governance Practices, which require non-venture issuers to disclose certain information regarding women on boards and in executive officer positions.

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“This year’s results show that the requirements have generally led to improved disclosure by issuers and are having a positive impact on the representation of women on boards,” said Louis Morisset, CSA Chair and President and CEO of the Autorité des marchés financiers. “This topic continues to be a CSA priority and we will continue to evaluate and report.”

Advisor’s Jessica Bruno has written about a federal effort open more corporate boards to women:

Gender-diverse boards lead to higher returns. MSCI World Index companies with more female directors than average had a 10.1% mean annual return, as of September 2015, compared to 7.4% for those with fewer female directors. Further, they had higher valuations and fewer governance-related controversies.

Read the rest of her column here. staff


The staff of have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.