But 62 per cent of Canada’s boards composed entirely of men: StatCan
The percentage of women on boards of directors ticked up slightly in 2017, according to new data from Statistics Canada on the gender composition of corporate boards.
The dataset for 2017 includes 10,108 corporations and 31,266 directors. Among the director seats, 18.1 per cent were held by women, a slight increase from 2016 when 17.8 per cent of 30,486 directors were women.
The majority of the boards were composed entirely of men in both 2016 (61.7 per cent) and 2017 (61.2 per cent). The proportion of boards with one female director increased from 26.6 per cent in 2016 to 27.7 per cent in 2017, while boards with more than one female member made up more than one-tenth of the dataset in both 2016 (11.7 per cent) and 2017 (11.1 per cent), according to the government.
Only a small number of the boards showed an increase in the number or proportion of seats occupied by women in 2017 compared with 2016. Of the 8,670 firms present in both years, 6.4 per cent saw an increase in the number of women and 8.6 per cent saw an increase in the proportion of women, says the agency.
Another recent survey by Randstad Canada found gender discrimination is a main reason for the low number of women in leadership positions.
Breaking down the numbers
The utilities industry had the highest representation of women in both 2016 (22.3 per cent) and 2017 (24.6 per cent), found Statistics Canada. It also was the industry with the highest year-over-year increase. Representation of women in the finance industry remained in second place with 21.9 per cent in 2016 and 23.3 per cent in 2017, while the management of companies and enterprises industry continued to be in third place, with 18.8 per cent in 2016 and 19.3 per cent in 2017.
Firms controlled by Canadian entities displayed the highest proportion of women directors in 2016 (19.7 per cent) and 2017 (19.9 per cent), followed by those of France-controlled entities and U.K.-controlled entities, according to the agency.
In both years, government business entities held the highest levels of representation of women, with the share of women directors rising from 27.7 per cent in 2016 to 35.2 per cent in 2017. This was the most significant year-over-year increase observed across all types of enterprises. Publicly traded corporations followed, increasing from 20.3 per cent in 2016 to 21.3 per cent in 2017. The proportion of women on the boards of privately held corporations edged up from 17.4 per cent in 2016 to 17.7 per cent in 2017.