Private companies’ boards still suck at gender diversity

Pioneering women across the world are making gains — there just aren’t enough of them being invited to the table.

Rip that “Slow progress is still progress” inspirational poster right off the wall.

private tech boards by gender

Its ever-optimistic worldview is not well supported by the latest report tracking gender diversity on corporate boards, produced by Crunchbase and Him For Her.

Overall, women hold more jobs than men, representing 50%+ of the US workforce. Yet this annual study of 667 private US companies — representing ~$200B in funding and 265k+ employees — shows that men still hold 91% of executive board seats.

Tech leads the way in not leading the way

The only “good” news for the tech sector here is that everyone else is still awful, too.

  • Life sciences outpaced tech, but while 75% of life science boards have at least one woman (compared to tech’s 61%), their overall numbers remain atrocious — just 19% of directors are women, and only 5% women of color.
  • Of all surveyed companies, 32% of boards have no women whatsoever; 76% of them don’t have a single woman of color.

A reason for this imbalance, per the study’s authors: an overreliance on execs’ personal networks to source board candidates.

  • Their proposed solution: increasing the number of independent board seats — women fill a comparatively higher share of those roles.

For one low-bar positive…

…this survey saw a first: There are finally more women of color on boards than men named “Dave” or “David.” Cool.

  • And yes, the aforementioned 32% of companies without women in their boardrooms is rotten, but that number does mark a YoY improvement of 7 percentage points.

The most baffling part: It’s just plain good business to have a more diverse board. Per the study, companies with at least one female board member raised 16% more money than their all-male counterparts.

Topics: Diversity

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