Boards still ignoring women

Number of women directors remains stagnate at 12 per cent

The advancement of women to corporate director positions has been at a virtual standstill, a new report by Catalyst Canada stated.

Women now hold 12 per cent of director positions (508 of 4,225), a 0.8 percentage point increase since 2003, stated the survey of women on the boards of corporations on the Financial Post 500 list.

“The sluggish rate of progress demonstrated by many of Canada’s leading businesses pales in comparison to the robust domestic corporate climate these companies have experienced,” said Sonya Kunkel, Catalyst Canada senior director.

“The number of women on FP500 boards clearly does not reflect their true impact on the Canadian economy as wage earners, managers, professionals, consumers, investors and business owners.”

Publicly traded companies were the worst offenders with only 9.2 per cent of board seats held by women, up from nine per cent in 2003.

Crown corporations were the bright light of the study with 28.5 per cent of director positions being held by women, up from 23.7 per cent in 2003.

The insurance, real estate, financial services, retailers and entertainment industries continue to have the highest representation of women on their boards. But the gold, mining, construction, engineering and information technology industries have the lowest percentage of women directors.

Canada is lagging behind the United States where 13.6 per cent of board directors are women. The number of American companies with at least one board seat held by a woman is nearly double that of Canadian companies — 89.2 per cent compared to 52.8 per cent.

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