San Diego Short Sighted and Short on Women in Board Postions

Studies consistently show that having women on corporate boards is a smart business decision, with organizations seeing higher return on equity, higher price/book value and higher payout ratio. Yet corporations throughout San Diego County have been slow to embrace diversity on their boards.

San Diego corporations slow to embrace diversity on their boards

In May, Lifestream, an executive recruitment firm for life science companies around the world, released a study of board composition for 44 San Diego public Biotech companies. The study revealed that just 9% (29 out of 322) members serving on the boards for these companies are women. The study identified only one female CEO and two female board chairs.

In June, San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister joined a group of state and local officials across the U.S. in contending that corporate boards have been too slow to diversify their ranks. The joint statement emphasizes that diversity is a critical dimension of effective board composition and performance.

Statistics show that board diversification has been slow—or has even regressed. White directors hold 85 percent of the board seats at the largest 200 S&P 500 companies, and the percentage of those boards with exclusively white directors has increased over the last decade. 

“Corporate boards have been much too slow to mirror the changing demographics of America,” said McAllister. “Maintaining leadership that is primarily white and male means these companies are potentially missing out on the many benefits diversity can bring to the board room.”

Athena is taking a proactive role in amplifying the discussion about the real need for gender diversity and equality in San Diego’s tech industries. 

On August 17, Athena is hosting an Open House where guests will hear from experts about paths to board membership and what resources exist to help you on your way. Join Athena for this timely dialogue sponsored by DeskHub and Women in Bio - Southern California. 

On November 3, Athena hosts a panel discussion about What's Really Driving the Gender Pay Gap where experts make up an "All Points of View" panel to focus on the timely and persistent issue of gender pay equity and the new California law dealing with equalizing pay across the board.

Athena is the premier organization supporting women in STEM careers -  providing education, networking and mentoring opportunities for women interested in serving on corporate and non-profit boards, as well as advancing their leadership positions in STEM related industries.

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