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Mar 4, 2014

‘Meaningful’ growth for women on boards at public companies: Report

But less encouraging picture for private companies
    
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Women’s representation on boards at public companies has increased nearly two percentage points in the past two years, signalling new momentum for corporate Canada, according to the 2013 Catalyst Census: Financial Post 500 Women Board Directors.

Women’s representation on boards of public companies increased from 10.3 per cent in 2011 to 12.1 per cent in 2013.

But the data presents a less encouraging picture for private companies, Crown corporations and co-operatives on the FP500 list — they have seen no meaningful increase in their numbers of women board directors compared to 2011, said Catalyst. Furthermore, more than one-third of companies (36 per cent) continue to have no women on their boards, including four out of 10 (41.7 per cent) public companies.

“Despite the overall numbers, we are excited to see growth for women on boards at public companies in Canada,” said Alex Johnston, executive director of Catalyst Canada. “We believe this movement, along with other positive actions such as the Ontario Securities Commission’s recent ‘comply or explain’ recommendations for all TSX-listed companies, signals an important shift. Corporate Canada is beginning to embrace what Catalyst has always known: that gender diversity on boards benefits corporate decision-making, helps drive better business results, and strengthens Canada’s economic competitiveness.”

For provinces with more than 10 FP500 companies, Quebec has the highest percentage of board seats held by women (19.8 per cent) while British Columbia has the lowest (11.9 per cent).

Among industries with more than 10 FP500 companies, the utilities industry has the highest percentage of board seats held by women (23.2 per cent), while companies in mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction have the lowest (seven per cent).

2013 Financial Post 500 board seats by province

B.C.

11.9%

Alberta

12.5%

Saskatchewan

23.2%

Manitoba

17%

Ontario

16%

Quebec

19.8%

New Brunswick

17.1%

Nova Scotia

25.7%

N.L.

10.5%

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