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Q4 2020 Equilar Gender Diversity Index

Gender Parity on Russell 3000 Boards Projected by 2032

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day on March 8, the focus on board diversity has never been so prominent. While 2020 posed several challenges to companies across Corporate America, one area where progress persisted was gender diversity on boards.

By the end of 2020, gender diversity on Russell 3000 boards reached an all-time high. As featured in a recent CNBC segment, the Equilar Gender Diversity Index (GDI) moved to 0.47, where 1.0 represents gender parity across Russell 3000 boards. Women now hold 23.5% of all Russell 3000 board seats, representing a 1.7% increase from the previous quarter.

Although progress has been encouraging, its pace has slowed in the last year. According to the Equilar analysis, the Russell 3000 is expected to reach gender parity by 2032 at the current rate of growth of women on boards. In Q4 2019, the anticipated date of parity was 2030, two years earlier than the current anticipated date. This trend could be attributed to the fact that the prevalence of women filling new board seats has regressed, with 39.1% of board seats being filled by women in 2020— down from 44.3% in 2019.

While the topic of diversity is becoming more prevalent at the company-wide level, there is no question that gender diversity on boards will continue to be an area of interest for key stakeholders in the years to come. The Russell 3000 has taken several steps forward over the last four years, and the continued progress, though slow and steady, is indeed an encouraging sign for the diversity movement.

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