Gender Diversity on Boards worldwide
MSCI, the leading research company specialized in ESG issues released the Women on Boards report 2021, in which it takes an annual look at progress on gender diversity on corporate boards since 2009. While overall female representation at the board level has improved the role of chief executive officer (CEO) remained largely out of reach for women in all regions in 2021.
Key findings of the report:
- Female representation at the board level has improved moderately in 2021 compared to the prior year among constituents of the MSCI ACWI global Index (including 2,887 listed companies from advanced and emerging economies) despite COVID-19 and the threat that the pandemic has posed to progress in gender diversity:
- In 2021, the number of board seats held by women went up 1.6 percentage points to 22%
- However, annual growth rate has slowed compared to pre-crisis levels.
- Just 1.2% of the constituents of the MSCI ACWI Index, have more than 50% of women directors as of 2021
- Among developed markets, European countries had the highest percentage of companies with at least 30% women directors (78.7%).
- In the same index, the number of companies without any women representation on boards continued declining in 2021 to 14.2% down from 17.0% in 2020, and from 18.6% in 2019.
- The role of chief executive officer (CEO) remained largely out of reach for women in all regions in 2021: However, for the first time between 2017 and 2021, the percentage of women CEOs in emerging markets (5.4%) slightly surpassed the percentage of women CEOs in developed markets (5.2%).
- By sectors: Health care and financials had the highest percentage of female CEOs, 7.2% and 6.9% respectively, while energy (2.8%) and industrials (3.9%) had the lowest.