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Economy / Business

Women Make Gains in Boardroom, With Eye On Achieving Gender Balance In Coming Years

Female business leaders from 2020 Women on Boards at the NY Stock Exchange. Photo Credit: 2020 Women on Boards
Female business leaders at the NY Stock Exchange. Photo Credit: 2020 Women on Boards

Women are making gains in the boardroom. More than 20 percent of boardroom seats across the country are now held by women, up from an average of 17.7 percent in 2018.

With just 19 percent of boardroom seats held by women in companies belonging to the Russell 3,000, an index of the largest publicly held US companies, the state of Florida lags slightly behind the national trend.

But the Tampa-St. Petersburg area is ahead, with 23 percent female representation, on average.

That's according to research from the non-profit group 2020 Women on Boards.

The Sarasota-based co-founder, Stephanie Sonnabend, says research shows that when women are in decision-making roles, they add value to companies “in terms of return to shareholders, profitability, and growth.”

She says the organization is now advocating for equal representation on boards across the Russell 3,000.

"We are defining gender balance as having either an equal number or only one more man or woman on the board. Now, we realize we have got a ways to go to achieve that goal."

Despite promising gains for women, about 10 percent of the biggest public companies in the country have no women on their boards.

Sonnabend says many companies have managed to add women to their boards by adding seats for them, not taking away spots held by men. 

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