Call to Action

What We Learned

Increasing the number of women in corporate leadership is good governance.

The third annual Minnesota Census of Women in Corporate Leadership reveals that women have made little progress in joining the top leadership ranks of Minnesota’s largest 100 publicly held companies over the past year.

Consider the evidence

  • Women hold 14.3 percent of the available board seats in Minnesota’s 100 largest publicly held companies; that’s 116 of the 814 board seats available in 2010. The number of seats held by women declined between 2009 and 2010 by three seats.
  • Twenty-eight of the top 100 public companies in Minnesota have no women board members.
  • Forty-one of the top 100 public companies have only one woman on their boards.
  • Eight companies showed a net increase of one woman on their boards. Four companies had a net decrease in the number of women on their boards.
  • Only 12 of the top 100 public companies in Minnesota include women of color among their women board members.

Lack of gender diversity in top corporate ranks — including the executive suite — is more than an issue of equity. Gender imbalance fundamentally shapes business performance and ultimately impacts the economic future of our state.

Women directors make substantive contributions to boards, according to the Harvard Business Review, including more collaborative approaches to leadership. Additional research suggests that the presence of at least three women on corporate boards correlates with improved financial performance.

To move our state forward, corporate leadership in Minnesota must draw upon the talents, skills and creativity of a more balanced representation of our population.

E-mail the steering committee co-chairs at

Download the full report (PDF)