Leadership: Women Membership Is Low on SD Boards

Study finds San Diego’s public companies have fewer women on their boards than their national counter parts.
Reprinted from June 11, 2016 SDBJ article page 1, Page 53


And while there were no contested director elections at San Diego public companies in 2015, 75 percent of local companies risk the ire of big investors in the way they fill uncontested board seats.

That is according to a recent report from Cooley LLC. The law firm and Board Governance Research compiled data on the boards of the region’s 51 largest public companies, with the help of the Corporate Directors Forum and data provider Equilar Inc. There are more than 80 publicly traded companies in San Diego County.

Opportunities for Diversity

Cheryl Goodman Executive Director AthenaThere are opportunities for San Diego to be more diverse,” said Cheryl Goodman, executive director for Athena, a San Diego organization for professional women in life science and technology. The group works with industry to place, train and keep women in leadership positions.

Athena has scheduled a program addressing the topic of women on boards for August 17. Learn more…

The GAO report said that companies frequently put a single woman on a board to make it look as though it is addressing the disparity, then take no further action.

While there has long been a concern about equal representation, Goodman said that women today are more vocal about the financial benefits of having more women on boards. “Value is added as a result of their contributions,” she said. The financial community has taken notice. Investment firms such as Morgan Stanley and Pax Ellevate management have introduced mutual funds for people who want to invest in the stocks of companies led by women.

The study found that women made up 13 percent of membership on San Diego boards versus 16% on national boards. A federal Government Accountability Office report from December reported the latter figure and offered a national look at the disparity. The report is available at http://1,usa.gov/1PIvsxK.

The Cooley report states that 33 percent of San Diego public companies had no female directors. Twenty-two percent had two female directors. Eight percent had 3 female directors.

Number of Female Directors on Boards 

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