Established in 2004, ION is the 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 working 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

Recent News and Research Updates

Here are the highlights - let me know if you have questions or need additional information. Note: click the [Links] provided to view the original article or right-click on the link if you prefer to copy and paste the URL into your browser.
Julie Graber

Recent Releases:

Credit Suisse Research Institute: CS Gender 3000
  • This report re-affirms CS findings that companies with higher levels of women in decision-making roles generate better returns and higher profits. The report also addresses the "Queen Bee" syndrome and "Glass Cliff" phenomenon. 
  • Based on a survey of over more than 34,000 employees in more than 130 companies, this report discusses differences in career advancement opportunities and outcomes that disadvantage women from the very start of their careers. It reviews their findings re: gender differences in promotion rates, access to informal feedback, and support of senior-level sponsors, as well as employee perceptions regarding their company's real commitment to gender diversity.  

On Boards

Less Fraud: More research suggests there is a link between the presence of women on boards & lower fraud findings. [Link]

Progress or Paralysis?: The heads of KPMG and PwC in Australia offered contrasting views on the progress to date in increasing the board seats held by women: one sees signs of hope while the other sees continuing paralysis. [

Red vs. Blue: It probably wouldn't surprise anyone to learn that there is a higher concentration of Republicans among corporate board members than the general population. Or that women board members are more likely to be Democrats than their male counterparts. Here are the numbers from a recent survey as reported in Harvard Business Review. [
  • Overall: 50% of board members are Republicans (vs. 28% of the general population) 
  • Among men: 53% are Republicans, 19% are Democrats, and 28% Independents
  • Among women: 39% are Republicans, 38% are Democrats, and 22% are Independents
Tech Savvy: Women bring more tech experience to corporate boards, outpacing men with similar expertise in nearly every industry. [Link]

By the Numbers

Fortune Global 500: Fortune tallied the numbers for their Global 500 and found a decline in the number of women CEOs, from 17 in 2014 to 12 in 2016. [Link]

New Women CEOs: Strategy& (PwC) reported that there were only 10 women (3%) among the 359 new CEOs in the 2500 largest public companies in the world (2015). [Link]

Gender Parity on Boards: Equilar reported that only six F1000 companies (<1%) have gender parity on their boards. [Link]

Taking Care of Health Care: Managed Care Magazine took a look at gender diversity at the top 10 health insurance companies in the US and reported the following. [Link]
  • Women CEOs: 20% (2 of 10)
  • Executive Positions held by women:  24%
  • Board Seats held by women:  22%
Great Resource: America's 300 Most Influential Black Corporate Directors from Savoy Magazine. [Link]  

Women in the C-Suite: Korn Ferry analyzed the C-suite executives of the top 1000 US companies and reported on the percentage of women in the top five roles. Women are currently:
  • 5% of CEOs 
  • 12% of CFOs
  • 19% of CIOs 
  • 29% of CMOs (marketing)
  • 55% of CHROs
In addition to overall numbers, their report also provides their findings by industry. They found the highest percentage of women CEOs (9%) and CFOs (15%) in the consumer industry, while the highest percentage of female CIOs was in the energy industry. (35%) [Link]

In the News

What Women Want at Work: According to a survey conducted by Fairygodboss, women say that unfair promotion practices are the most evident form of gender discrimination in their workplace. And they want companies to improve the management and cultural practices that keep women from advancing their careers. [Link]

Targets of Shareholder Activism: Female CEOs are far more more likely to be targeted by shareholder activists, according to research by Christine Shropshire of Arizona State University. Shropshire examined shareholder resolutions for companies in the F1000 that differed only by CEO gender (holding constant for performance and size), and found that women-led firms were 50% more likely to be targets of shareholder activism than male firms. Shropshire's discussion of the factors she believes contribute to this difference (stereotypes and signaling theory) as well as what she believes female CEOs can do about it are worth a read. ( [Link]

Diversity Initiatives That Fail (and Ones That Work): HBR recently featured a great run-down on why diversity initiatives fail (including diversity training, hiring tests, and performance ratings) and what efforts show the most promise (engaging managers in recruitment initiatives aimed at greater diversity, interaction among diverse team members as equals, social accountability). [Link]  

Being a Woman Makes a Difference: Just days after we learned that Verizon would buy Yahoo and Marissa Mayer's tenure as Yahoo's CEO would come to an end, Mayer conceded that the media may have covered her differently because she was a woman. [Link]

Want your news as it happens? Follow us on Twitter @IONWomen or LinkedIn.

Heard at SAIS Global Conference on Women in the Boardroom

The following highlights are from the presentations at the 7th annual Global Conference on Women in the Boardroom, sponsored by the School of Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins, September 7, 2016. For more details, check out our summary on the ION website:  7th SAIS Global Conference on Women in the Boardroom

Susan Ness, SAIS:
 US has a larger supply of board-ready women than any other country and yet still lags behind in women's participation on boards. 

Brande Stellings of Catalyst, quoting Ron Parker, Executive Leadership Council, on the status of the business case:  Business case provides the justification, but not the motivation to increase diversity.

Peter Grauer, Bloomberg: Board diversity is not an issue of the pipeline, it's an issue of focus. 

Tom Quaadman, SVP US Chamber: Board diversity issue has more visibility within the business community now; they should (and will) drive the solution. 

Ron Parker, Executive Leadership Council: Greater transparency (availability of data) and social media will accelerate pace of progress.

Professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Yale School of Management: social media shines a harsh light on women leaders; less sure effect of higher visibility will be positive.  

For research and news highlighted in our past issues, visit our newsletter archives

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