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's the latest research and news on women on boards and in executive positions. 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.


Network 2000: ION Member Network 2000 released the results from their latest census of women on boards in Maryland and reported little change in their overall numbers (2014 numbers in parentheses) [Link]
  • Number of seats held by women: 91 (90)
  • Percentage of seats held by women: 14.4% (14.3%)
  • Percentage of companies where women hold 20% or more of the board seats: 31.6% (28.6%)
  • Percentage of companies where women hold 20% or more of the executive positions: 35.5% (39%)
Female CEOs in  Fortune 500: Fortune is reporting that the number of female CEOs among the 2016 F500 companies declined from 24 to 21. Retirements, company spin-offs, and changes in rankings accounted for some of the shifts, but Fortune made note of the fact that of the 29 new companies on the list in 2016, only one had a female chief executive (Veritiv). [Link] Also see: Five things to know about the female leaders on the list. [Link]

Catalyst 2016 Update: Catalyst released their update on women on boards for the S&P 500, noting that there was little progress overall. And with only 27% of new board appointments going to women, those numbers aren't likely to change much in the future. [Link]
  • Board seats held by women in the S&P 500: 19.9% (2014: 19.2%)
  • Top compensated execs who are women: 9.5%
  • S&P 500 companies with no women on their board: 8 (2014: 14)
Catalyst also reported that 25% of S&P 500 companies have only one woman on their board. Brande Stellings, VP of corporate board services at Catalyst said they included this figure because "we want to make sure one doesn't become the new zero." [Link]
  • In our analysis of Russell 3000 companies in the US in 2014, we noted that over one-third (37%) of the listed companies had only one woman on their board, while 897 companies (32%) had no women on their boards. [Link]
Australia: Women have received 43% of the new board appointments in the ASX 200 this year. Might sound like good news, but at that rate, Australia will not make their goal of 30% board seats held by women by 2018. [Link]  

UK: The latest report on women on boards in the UK is being described as a ''wake-up call'' by many who note that the rate of appointment of women to boards was the lowest it has been since Sept 2011. [Link] Also from the UK: the tech sector still has too many companies with no women on their boards and among their senior executives, but 20% are run by women. [Link]

Female CEOs in World's Largest Public Companies: PwC reported that there were only 10 women (3%) among 359 new CEOs in 2500 largest public companies in world (2015). [Link]

Key Committee Appointments: Women directors are being added to key board committees (audit, compensation, nominating) faster than women are being added to boards overall. [Link] What struck me in the data: women hold the smallest percentage of seats on nominating committees in most countries. 

Finland: The Finland Chamber of Commerce is reporting record numbers for the seats held by women in their listed companies; 25% overall, up from 12% in 2008. [Link]

Worth A Read: A recent article on women on boards in Minnesota highlighted the companies that get it and the women who have led the charge. [Link]

Women on Boards in Europe's Central/Eastern Block: At the Global Summit of Women in Warsaw, Poland, Corporate Women Directors released the results of the first-ever study of women on the boards of Blue Chip companies in Central and Eastern Europe: 15.5%.  Latvia is the highest at 27%, while Estonia has the largest percentage of companies with no women on their boards (73%). [Link]

Recent Updates

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SEC Drafting Stronger Disclosure Requirements: SEC Chair Mary Jo White reiterated the commission's commitment to stronger diversity disclosure requirements for public company boards in a speech in late June at the International Corporate Governance Network annual meeting. [Link]  Not everyone is convinced that anything can be accomplished until after the upcoming presidential election; observers expect White to resign at the end of Obama's term in office. 

Power of the Purse: How's your favorite brand do when it comes to gender equity? Check out the LedBetter website, which provides board and executive leadership data for the companies responsible for top consumer brands in the US. [Link]

Women in Bio recently announces the launch of a Boardroom Ready program for executives in the life sciences [Link]

Women in Finance Charter: 72 banks and insurers (some US-based) have signed the Women in Finance Charter in the UK. Designed to improve gender diversity in the leadership of the financial services industry, the charter commits the companies to setting targets for gender diversity in their senior ranks and tying the compensation packages of senior executives to the progress they make toward those targets. The companies also agree to publish reports on their efforts and to appoint an executive responsible for diversity & inclusion. [Link

Glass Cliff in the UK: recent coverage of the changing of the guard in the UK included an interesting article on why times of crisis open up opportunities for women to lead & why they call the opportunity a ''glass cliff.'' [Link]

Women Golfers: a recent study of men and women who golf in Singapore discovered that women golfers are 54% more likely to serve on a corporate board than male golfers in the country. The researchers suggest that golfing provides access to the informal networks (typically male) that lead to board and executive opportunities.  [Link]
Women's Leadership Development Programs - Lessons Learned & New Frontiers

A recent issue of the Journal of Management Education (Volume 40, Issue 3) included a rich discussion of women's leadership development programs (WLDP). As the title suggests, the issue includes a review of themes from the latest research on WLDPs as well as recommendations for WLDPs going forward. The focus in all cases is on understanding how WLDPs can foster transformational change in individuals and organizations while fostering leadership development in both women and men.

A special issue of the ION newsletter will include a summary of the key findings and recommendations from these articles - watch for it in your inbox in the next two weeks. 

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

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