Research Briefs from ION
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Founded in 2004, ION is a national consortium and stakeholder organization whose mission is to increase the number of women appointed to corporate boards and to executive officer positions.

ION's Member Organizations represent nearly half of the 28 million women in management and professional roles across the nation. ION is the only confederation of regional organizations in the US engaged in this work. To learn more about ION, go to

By the Numbers

  • The final Lord Davies Report has been issued in the UK, and the FTSE 100 companies have met their goal, with women holding 25% of the corporate board seats in the top 100 companies and with no all-male boards remaining. Lord Davies now says women should hold one-third of the boards seats in the FTSE 350 by 2020.
  • BloombergBusiness reported that women are benefiting from push to add cybersecurity experts to corporate boards, noting that recent appointments in 16 companies have included 10 women.
  • It's not just women who are missing among the Fortune 500 CEOs. Only five F500 CEOs are African-American, and only one is an African-American female: Ursula Burns of Xerox. 
  • McKinsey's Women in the Workplace research suggest it will take 100 years to reach gender parity in the C-Suite.

Driving Change

  • Massachusetts recently joined California and Illinois in taking legislative action to encourage gender diversity on corporate boards.
  • A review of 722 Canadian companies in the wake of 2014's ''comply or explain'' disclosure requirements found that only 14% of the companies adopted a formal policy aimed at improving gender diversity on their boards and in executive positions.  A full 65% reported that they chose not to take any action, most noting that "merit" was the primary consideration for board appointments.
 "Women's empowerment is not just a fundamentally moral cause, it is also an 'absolute economic no-brainer.''
IMF's Christine Lagarde

Understanding What's Behind the Gender Gap 

  • Engineering Australia's women's committee introduces the third in a series of action plans aimed at addressing gender inequality in the engineering field. This plan focuses on gender bias and provides a three-step approach for addressing it in work settings.
  • You may have heard that YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki got a big surprise several years ago when her very own daughter announced she ''hated'' computers. Wojcicki recently outlined the steps she thinks we need to take to engage all kids in tech (including computer science as a mandatory subject in school), and cautioned that lack of action in this "Sputnik moment" could result in increased gender, racial, and class disparities that would be detrimental to our future competitiveness.
  • And this article from The Globe and Mail (CAN) provides a great rundown of the challenges facing women at work and provides links to research on gender norms, roles & expectations.

Not Helping

  • 77% of fund managers surveyed by Hermes Investment in the UK & Europe don't think having women on boards is important. 
  • Only 35% of male corporate board members think it's very important to have gender diversity on boards.

On a Somewhat Lighter Note 

  • The Israeli ad agency, McCann Tel Aviv, has decided to poke some fun at conferences where women are underrepresented as speakers. They've been running radio spots that feature a male announcer asking ''all the ladies to leave the stage so the conference can begin,'' and banners that proclaim "she has all the qualities to be a speaker except one thing – she’s not man enough."  The agency is also taking the problem seriously and has developed a registry of women speakers for event planners who can't find any women to speak.
  • Good to know that there is at least one industry where women are making progress up the ladder: the cannibis industry, where women apparently hold 36% of the executive positions.
  • And did you know that the woman chosen to appear on the the new $10 will share the space with the current occupant, Alexander Hamilton? It's not clear yet if both will be featured on the same bill or if there will be two versions of the bill produced. Either way, I still say she belongs on the $20.

Looking for a Board Seat?

The International Finance Corporation (a member of the World Bank Group) is making a push for more gender diversity on the boards of the companies they support with financing and expertise. To assist in this effort, they have established an online registry for diverse board candidates:  Nominee Directors Database

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