Board gender parity will not happen until 2042

Board gender parity will not happen until 2042
Photo: BlueBird via Pexels

Women's representation on boards will not reach parity with men until 2042, a report has shown.

According to index provider MSCI, it could take until 2027 and 2042 to reach 30 per cent and 50 per cent women representation on boards, respectively.

In a 32-page progress report, MSCI Women on Boards, the company found there had been a moderate improvement over 2021 in terms of representation among constituents of the MSCI ACWI Index, but they remained male-dominated overall. 

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Only 1.2 per cent of constituent companies had a majority female board, while some constituent companies had no female representation at all.

The progress report - which has been tracking and reporting on board gender diversity since 2009 - found that in 2021, 14.2 per cent of the constituents of the MSCI ACWI Index had all-male boards, down from 17 per cent in 2020, and from 18.6 per cent in 2019.

The report also found the incremental increase in directorships held by women has also been accompanied by an overall decline in the number of companies without any women representation on boards.

Among developed markets, European countries had the highest percentage of companies with at least 30 per cent women directors (78.7 per cent). In addition, only 0.9 per cent of the companies had all-male boards.

All top 10 countries by percentage of companies with at least 30 per cent women directors were European, except for one, which was New Zealand.

According to MSCI: "The oscillation of progress over the years begs the question of how committed companies are to reaching and maintaining at least 30 per cent women representation at board level, and eventually full gender parity, in a timely manner."

But the report also coincided with more positive news from the Chartered Governance Institute for UK & Ireland (CGIUKI) in association with The Core Partnership.

It found that nearly 50 per cent of UK companies and not-for-profits have plans to reach gender parity at board level according to the results of a snapshot survey of governance professionals.

Last month, as reported by FTAdviser, the FTSE Woman’s Leaders Review released their report calling on FTSE companies to adopt a minimum 40 per cent target for female appointees to the Board and leadership teams of FTSE 350 companies by 2025.

Many organisations are aiming higher, with 46 per cent of organisations stating that plans are in place for gender parity at board level.

According to the CGIUKI, respondents also reported good news on developing the pipeline of future female talent with three-quarters (75 per cent) of male and female respondents reporting their company is supporting women into senior leadership roles.

Sara Drake, chief executive of the organisation, said: “It is encouraging to see that nearly half of the respondents said their company has gender parity targets for their boards as we mark International Women’s Day."