Where Are the Women?
State’s top corporations show a profound lack of gender
diversity in their highest levels of leadership.
The 2009 Minnesota Census of Women in Corporate Leadership, based on Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings as of June 30, 2009, profiles the progress of women serving on boards and in the executive suites of Minnesota’s 100 largest publicly held companies, which have revenues ranging from $28 million to $82 billion.
These include 17 Fortune 500 companies, 11 Fortune 501–1000 companies, and 72 additional companies. In all three of these categories, women continue to be underrepresented in both Minnesota boardrooms and executive suites.
The backdrop for The 2009 Census has significantly altered from 2008. Mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcies, delistings, and new arrivals all have wrought changes in the list of the top 100 public companies:
- Nine companies noted in The 2008 Census are not included in this year’s report.
- Nine new companies have joined the list, none of them Fortune-ranked.
- Two companies, Nash Finch Co. and PepsiAmericas, Inc., moved up into the Fortune 500 category of companies in The 2009 Minnesota Census.
This shift in sample affects this year’s findings and the overall picture of the status of women’s corporate leadership in Minnesota.
The 2009 Minnesota Census of Women in Corporate Leadership reveals two key themes:
One-woman show. Forty-one of Minnesota’s 100 largest publicly held companies have only one woman director; 27 companies have none. The percentage of executive officer positions held by women has decreased in the past year from 16 percent to 15 percent. Thirty-seven companies have only one woman executive officer, and 32 companies have none.
Size matters. The larger a company’s revenue, the higher the likelihood that women will play a role in corporate governance. In 2009, 65 percent of Minnesota’s Fortune 500 companies had two or more women corporate directors, compared with 46 percent of the Fortune 501–1000 companies on the list and 22 percent of the smaller companies.
• The InterOrganization Network (ION) is at www.ionwomen.org
In 2009, 6 percent of Minnesota’s Fortune 500 companies had no women executive officers, compared with 27 percent of the Fortune 501–1000 companies on the list and 39 percent of the smaller companies. This trend is reflected in the national data collected by ION, the national nonprofit organization that works to increase women’s role in corporate leadership.
Although the statistics presented in the following pages indicate negligible change in women’s progress across Minnesota’s top companies, isolated cases of improvement surface. Six companies increased the number of women on their boards between 2008 and 2009. Nine companies increased the number of women executive officers.
These are small but notable steps. Without question, however, significant work remains.