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Celebrating its tenth year, 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 suite.

ION's Member Organizations represent the 26 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

Catching Up on Year-End (and then some)

In this update, you'll find links to news clips, recent research releases, news on ION and its member organizations and more.

Julie Graber,

(My Belated New Year's Resolution: don't let three months go by before doing another summary).

Research and Census Reports

  • Latest McKinsey "Diversity Matters" research shows a statistically significant relationship between diversity & corporate performance. Differences by country are interesting to note.
  • A Study in Ethics: working paper shows linkages between female CFOs, board gender diversity & lower likelihood of corporate tax evasion charges; also finds diversity must exceed 30% of corporate leadership to reap the benefits.
  • Round-up of previously reported research outlines reasons why more women on corporate boards is good for business.
  • Fenwick & West find slow growth in gender diversity of boards & executive officers in Silicon Valley; introduces scoring system to Gender Diversity Survey (compares Silicon Valley 150 to Fortune 100).
  • Going Global:  2014 Catalyst Census provides data on companies across 3 regions & 20 countries .
  • From the UK: FTSE 100 boards still lack diversity. Only 23% of directors are female in to 100 companies; even worse, only 5% are ethnic minorities.
  • Report from 2020 Women on Boards on Fortune 1000 corporate boards show women hold 18% of the seats.
  • UC Davis/Watermark releases annual census of women on boards & highest paid executives in California; for boards, ratio is one woman for every eight men.
  • Nike finds that employees are 13 times more engaged on diverse teams, 82 times more engaged on inclusive teams.
  • More research that shows that diversity programs can limit actual change in organizations.
  • Mercer's Workforce Sciences Institute shows ''choke points'' that stop women's advancement Graphic drives it home:
  • Mercer research on global gender gap in business says current efforts are insufficient, won't improve numbers.
  • What it took for female CEOs to get to the top is not necessarily an MBA from a top school or impressive job says HBR.
  • Thomson Reuters adds more fuel to the fire; having women on board is good for business.
  • Deloitte's 2014 Board Practices Report: 18% of responding companies increased the number of women on their boards last year (15% in '12)
  • PwC Annual Corporate Directors Survey: Investors & board directors at odds on gender diversity; directors still claim lack of qualified women the issue.
  • Broader sets of skills, wider range of experience are among benefits of having more women on boards.

Corporate Boards

  • Macy's makes it 50:50 on its board; one of four companies in Fortune 500 to achieve gender parity. Five board members (out of 12) are minorities.
  • Cinemark Holdings diversifies board with appointment of entrepreneur & Chair Emeritus of US Hispanic Chamber Nina G. Vaca ( but still no women among executive officers. (Note to Cinemark: Guess who buys the majority of movie tickets?
  • Stepping Up: the Committee for Economic Development sets goal to create real change: fill every other corporate board seat with a woman over the next four years.
  • Australian Securities Exchange walks the talk; meets 30% target for gender diversity with latest board appointment.
  • Making it a Priority: Search firm tees up gender diversity on corp boards in Arkansas, where nearly half of the companies have no women on their board.
  • Commentary on Germany's plan to introduce quotas to increase women on boards discusses outcomes in other countries.
  • Update on ASX 200 numbers for women on boards & why tracking the numbers still matters (even when they don't change).
  • Corporate governance report says board ''refreshment'' a key issue for 2015, but rising retirement ages don't walk the talk.
  • Refreshing approach from Ryerson University business school dean seeking to reflect importance of diversity on the school's advisory board.
  • Update on Toronto Stock Exchange ''comply or explain'' requirement for listed firms includes stats for women on boards.
  • Doing the math on corporate board diversity, and the answer is +1 (add a board member and make it a woman).
  • Interview with Andre Spicer, Professor of Organizational Behavior at Cass Business School: quotas ensure that companies will move beyond tokenism in appointing more women to boards.

Executive Track

  • UK report: lack of flexibility in workplace costing employers by excluding highly qualified women from high skill jobs.
  • Hidden costs of not having paid leave in US include loss of women from the workforce & higher turnover expense; also higher use of public assistance for families with not leave.
  • What we know about pay & diversity gaps at Sony thanks to recent hack; women & minorities come up short-even co-presidents.
  • Could the COO spot be the path to the CEO's job in tech? High-profile female COOs, like Sheryl Sandberg, could be a positive sign of things to come (or yet another glass ceiling).
  • Debate on the fairness of a merit system sponsored by Diversity Council of AUS is worth a read. Love this assessment from AUS Chief of Army David Morrison: when men are promoted on potential & women are promoted on proven performance, there is no level playing field. ''Merit is perceived by those who see themselves as meritorious.''  
  • Cisco makes workforce diversity a priority; now requires that there is a female manager on every talent interview panel.
  • A Guide for Men: Ignore the scoring: these are six great questions for men to ask themselves re: their gender lens.
  • Glass Cliff?: incoming USPS postmaster general & CEO Megan Brennan faces growing deficits & declining mail volume.
  • Making Progress: Boston's Women's Workforce Council has 54 companies that have agreed to share data on gender & pay.


  • Women shaking things up: Here are five women making their mark in non-traditional fields:  an app developer, online entrepreneur, start-up female cab company & shout-out on public policy.
  • Pipeline Fellowships help women learn to be an angel investor & close the angel investment gender gap.  
  • Female entrepreneurs who blazed trails during the 19th & early 20th century are not all the usual suspects & industries
  • GoldieBlox does it again with a new video - Big Sister is Watching.
  • Leaders in private equity industry see potential benefits from closing the gender gap, but not motivated to change.
  • Fortune: only one female senior exec added to leadership of venture capital funds studied last year: now 24 women out of 546.

Other News of Note

  • Great piece on Australia's efforts to achieve gender equity through their Male Champions of
  • Summary of Susan Wojcicki's WSJ op-ed on paid maternity leave; cites stats for Google on decreased turnover as a result of leave policies.
  • Where are women are welcome in tech? Data security field where women are 48% of the labor force.
  • SNL skit hits the mark on the lack of diversity in the tech industry through use of emojis.
  • Amazon's diversity numbers surprise no one; workforce overall & managers both predominately male.
  • Intel says it will spend $300 million to increase diversity in tech; will tie executive pay to progress on goal.  More details on Intel's plans:
  • Microsoft still dancing as fast as it can; ''releases'' EEOC diversity data w/ little fanfare.

On the Pay Gap

  • HR can help close the gender pay gap in orgs with these practices.
  • After Sony hack, Charlize Theron insists that studio pays up - demands same deal as male co-star for upcoming film.
  • Female MBAs lag behind male counterparts, even in similar sub-sectors of field. Gap is substantial:  $21K gap overall, $11K in banking sector (upon graduation); gap widens from there.
  • Study says reason for gender pay gap in tech is that women ask for lower salaries. (Rhetorical question: how does any company justify paying men more for this reason alone?)
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