Report: Bay State Cos. Not Filling Board Vacancies with Women

November 10, 2006 ( - Few Bay State companies faced with open board seats filled them with women in recent months, according to a new study by a business women's advocacy group.

A news release from The Boston Club said its 2006 Census of Women Directors and Executive Officers of Massachusetts Public Companies found that of the 58 independent director positions that became available between June 30, 2005 and June 30, 2006, women were chosen to fill only nine of those slots.

According to the news release, since The Boston Club first started analyzing the status of women in Massachusetts companies in 2003, the number of women holding board seats has grown from 9% to 10.8% – a record the group labeled “steady but slow.”

“To those CEOs and nominating committees who have continued to say that the low number of women in boardrooms results from a lack of available seats, I say: Read our report,” said Charlotte Hart, president of The Boston Club, in the announcement. “This year’s special section on board turnover allows us to state with conviction that it’s not a lack of opportunity, but missed opportunity that makes the pace of change so slow.”

Findings of the group’s most recent report include:

  • Forty-three companies of the 100 largest public companies in Massachusetts do not have women on their boards, compared with 45 in 2004 and 2005. Thirty of these companies have no women at either the board level or in their executive officer ranks, compared with 29 in 2005.
  • Women hold 10.8%, or 91 of the 844 board seats, up from 9.9% in 2005.
  • The consumer goods sector has the highest percentage (12.8%) of women directors; the health care services sector has the lowest percentage (9.1%).
  • 78% of companies that added new directors this year chose to add only male directors.
  • Women account for 11% of the 710 executive officers of the largest public companies in Massachusetts, up from 10.1% in 2005.

The Boston Club includes senior executive and professional women and was created in 1976 as a venue for women leaders to meet and exchange ideas, according to the announcement.

More information about the group’s research is  here .