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Index IDEA: Female board representation still lags

As the world celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8, we reflected on just how far the global workforce has come in terms of gender diversity.

Yet at the same time new data from global index provider FTSE Russell on gender diversity at the company board level underscores that further progress is warranted.

FTSE Russell recently examined female board representation for companies within the FTSE Developed Index, calculating a “Women on Boards,” or WoB, ratio to compare across countries. Interestingly, the analysis uncovered that more effort is needed across all countries to achieve gender equality at leadership levels, with the US and UK lagging behind other countries.

The US has an average WoB ratio of just 20%, in the bottom half of its developed market peers. And, in the UK, the WoB ratio was just 25%, lagging behind its European peer countries:


Steve Odland, president & CEO, Committee for Economic Development (CED)

Former chairman & CEO, Office Depot, Inc., and AutoZone, Inc.

“Gender diversity on corporate boards is a topic of great importance in the US and globally. As companies increase the number of women on boards, they are strengthening their effectiveness to connect with their many constituencies. Women make up a substantial portion of consumers, college graduates, employees, and wealth-holders, yet they lack a sufficient voice in providing input and guidance to the company about these constituencies. Companies are not fully leveraging today’s pool of human capital and are thus hurting their ability to compete effectively in the marketplace.”

Susan Quintin, managing director, global product management, FTSE Russell:

“Gender diversity in corporate leadership continues to be an important topic for our investor clients. And as they are looking more closely at diversity as a success factor for companies, they are looking to us for more efficient and accurate ways to measure and compare across companies, sectors and countries. We recently introduced the new FTSE Women on Boards Leadership Index Series as a way to better address this need and put accurate measurement tools in the hands of our clients.”  

On February 2, 2018, FTSE Russell launched the FTSE Women on Boards Leadership Index Series to help market participants better measure and integrate gender diversity into their investment considerations. Through a unique methodology, the index series uses a tilt (or stock weight adjustment) to integrate gender diversity and social impact as factors in the index weightings.



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