The 30% Coalition Launches Critical Mass Campaign to Dramatically Increase Number of Women on Corporate Boards

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Coalition sets goal of 30% women on every board by end of 2015

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It’s time to set ambitious goals rather than settle for the current inertia. We formed The 30% Coalition to move the needle on an issue that is critical to women and to the success of American business.

Twenty-seven industry thought leaders, including senior executives of major U.S. companies, founders of powerful women's organizations, institutional investors, corporate governance experts and board members, gathered for a high-level summit in late 2011 to address the lack of gender diversity in corporate boardrooms. Prompted by what participants called “glacial progress” on increasing the number of women on U.S. corporate boards – a number which has essentially remained stagnant over the past five years – the leaders formed The 30% Coalition. Today, the Coalition launched a “Critical Mass Campaign” targeted at CEOs, institutional investors and other stakeholders to secure a minimum of 30 percent multicultural women on every US-based publically listed company board of directors by the end of 2015.

“When it comes to bringing diversity to corporate boards, progress has come to a halt,” said Charlotte Laurent-Ottomane, president of InterOrganization Network (ION), the national nonprofit organization that convened the Summit. “It’s time to set ambitious goals rather than settle for the current inertia. We formed The 30% Coalition to move the needle on an issue that is critical to women and to the success of American business.”

Other nations, most notably in Europe, have taken bold steps to move beyond studies, reports, and supply-side solutions (for example, training and making available more qualified women), opting in favor of quotas and other demand-side initiatives to prompt companies to change their board recruitment and selection practices.

“The 30% Coalition strongly encourages corporate leadership across the U.S. to focus on gender diversity in their boardrooms as a critical part of the overall business strategy for future growth,” said Laurent-Ottomane.

According to Catalyst’s 2011 census of Fortune 500 companies, women held just 16.1 percent of board seats in 2011 compared to 15.7 percent in 2010, and data on female executives and top earners indicates that women are no further along the corporate ladder than they were six years ago. ION’s 2011 Status Report noted that of the 542 new independent directors elected to corporate boards in 12 regions critical to the U.S. economy, the same meager percentage (16.1) were women. Comparing 2011 to 2009, the statistics are equally dismal. According to Governance Metrics International, the share of board seats held by women barely budged from 12.1 percent to 12.3 percent across 1,763 publicly traded U.S. companies.

Members of The 30% Coalition include:

  • Janice Hester Amey, Portfolio Manager, Corporate Governance Unit, California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS)
  • Linda Basch, President, National Council for Research on Women
  • Linda K. Bolliger, Founder & Chair, Boardroom Bound® & Boardology™ Institute        
  • Deborah Byron, Co-Chair, Stanford Women on Boards Initiative
  • Douglas Conant, former President and CEO, Campbell Soup Company
  • Tiffany Dufu, President, White House Project
  • Janice Ellig, President, New York Women’s Forum and Co-CEO, Chadick Ellig
  • Malli Gero, Executive Director, 2020 Women on Boards
  • Nina Gidwaney, Executive Director, The Jacquelyn and Gregory Zehner Foundation
  • Rosemarie Greco, Co-Chair, VISION 2020 and corporate board member
  • Stephanie Hanbury-Brown, Managing Director, Golden Seeds and corporate board member
  • Kathy Hannan, National Managing Partner of Diversity and Corporate Responsibility, KPMG
  • Suzanne Hopgood, President and CEO, The Hopgood Group and corporate board member
  • Joseph Keefe, President and CEO, PAX World Funds
  • Vicki Kramer, Principal, V. Kramer & Associates; Founding Board Member, InterOrganization Network (ION) and Summit Co-Facilitator
  • Joanne Landau, President, Kurtsam Realty and corporate board member
  • Charlotte Laurent-Ottomane, President, InterOrganization Network (ION)
  • Pat Mitchell, President and CEO, The Paley Center for Media and corporate board director
  • Irene Natividad, Co-Chair, Corporate Women Directors International and President, Global Summit of Women
  • Susan Ness, Convener, SAIS Global Conference on Women in the Boardroom and corporate board member
  • Toni Riccardi, Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Chief Diversity Officer, The Conference Board
  • Timothy Smith, Senior Vice President and Director of ESG Shareowner Engagement, Walden Asset Management
  • Lynn Shapiro Snyder, Senior Member, Epstein Becker Green and President, Women Business Leaders of the U.S. Health Care Industry Foundation (WBL)
  • Susan Stautberg, President, Women Corporate Directors (WCD)
  • Judith von Seldeneck, Chairman and CEO, Diversified Search, corporate board member and Summit Sponsor
  • Toni Wolfman, Executive Advisor, Bentley University’s Center for Women and Business; Founding Board Mmember, InterOrganization Network (ION) and Summit Co-Facilitator
  • Jacki Zehner, Co-Chair, Women Moving Millions; President, The Jacquelyn and Gregory Zehner Foundation and Summit Sponsor

About The 30% Coalition
The 30% Coalition is a group of industry thought leaders, including senior executives of major U.S. companies, founders of powerful women's organizations, institutional investors, corporate governance experts, and board members, who believe in the power of collaborative effort to achieve gender diversity in public company boardrooms, and in the necessity of attaining at least 30% female representation on every public company board by the end of 2015. For more information, contact Charlotte Laurent-Ottomane, 561 395 4581, email charlotte.ottomane[at]nvestcom[dot]com.

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Vanessa Bradford
c3PR
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