Women in Technology Research Reveals Women Making Slight Gains in Representation on Corporate Boards in the Washington, D.C.-Region, But Overall Numbers Remain Low

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Despite a 1 percent increase in women serving on local boards, only 11 percent of the total 1,877 board seats are held by women.

Women in Technology (WIT), the premier organization contributing to the success of professional women in the Washington, D.C.- area technology community, today released the third research report conducted by American University’s Kogod School of Business titled “2013 Women Board Directors in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.” The findings of the 2013 study reveal a slight increase in women serving on corporate boards growing from 10 percent in 2012 to 11 percent in 2013, but few companies reached levels of inclusion that would allow them to truly benefit from board member diversity by achieving “critical mass” (three or more women on the board.)

The 2013 report provides in-depth analysis of women board members from 208 publicly traded companies headquartered in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

In addition to the slight increase in overall numbers from last year, the research revealed that historically male-dominated industries, including the finance and insurance industry, are showing a positive trend in increasing the number of women on their boards.

Despite these gains, there is a continuing void of women serving as board members at local, publicly traded companies. Specific results include:

  •     11 percent of the 1,877 corporate board seats in the Washington, D.C.-area are held by women, compared to a Fortune 1000 average of just over 16 percent
  •     One-third of Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.-based companies do not have even one woman on their board of directors
  •     Nearly 93 percent of Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. companies do not achieve the “critical mass” of three or more women board members

When broken out regionally, of the 208 companies surveyed, women hold 13 percent of board seats in Maryland, 10 percent in Virginia and 11 percent in Washington, D.C. Virginia made the most progress in comparison to its regional counterparts, decreasing the number of corporations with no female representation on their boards by 19 percent from 2010 to 2013. The number of boards without women also decreased in Maryland by 5 percent from 2012 to 2013 (Note: This report only began collecting data in Maryland in 2012.) However, in Washington, D.C., the companies with no women serving on their boards increased by 21 percent.    

Since WIT began collaborating with Kogod School of Business in 2010, it has leveraged this report to help build awareness of and influence change around the number of women serving on corporate boards in the Washington, D.C.-region. As part of its mission to advance women from the classroom to the boardroom, WIT created the The Leadership Foundry to help prepare women leaders to serve on corporate boards. Through The Leadership Foundry, senior women executives have the opportunity to be a part of a program that provides intensive board training sessions, access to the knowledge of a steering committee of industry leaders with extensive board experience as well as educational and networking events.

This year, The Leadership Foundry celebrated its first graduate to receive a paying board seat. Vincette Goerl was named to the Board of Advisors at FedBid, Inc.

“Through this report, we are able to bring awareness to an issue that desperately needs to be addressed in our region,” stated Phyllis Kolmus, president, WIT. “The Leadership Foundry is an amazing platform for delivering the needed training and networking to executive women seeking a board seat. WIT will continue to partner with area companies to accelerate board gender diversity and ultimately, improve corporate performance.”

The research was conducted by Danielle Hart and Laura Denton at American University’s Kogod School of Business under the guidance of faculty research sponsor, Jill Klein and WIT project director, Lori DeLorenzo. All companies included in this report are listed on the major stock exchanges (NYSE and NASDAQ).

Click HERE for a copy of the 2013 report and for more information about The Leadership Foundry.

WIT and The Leadership Foundry are joining with Women on Boards 2020 to host a luncheon on November 11, 2013 (11/12/13) to discuss the report findings in more detail. The 11/12/13 campaign is an effort to get a national conversation on gender diversity in U.S. corporate boardrooms. Visit WIT's website for more details on the event.

About Women in Technology
Women in Technology (WIT) is a not-for-profit organization with the mission of advancing women in technology—from the classroom to the boardroom—by providing advocacy, leadership development, networking, mentoring and technology education. With nearly 1000 members in the Washington, D.C.-area, WIT strives to meet its vision of being the premier organization empowering women to be architects of change in the technology industry. For more information, please visit, http://www.womenintechnology.org or connect with us via: Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter (@WITWomen).

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Katie Grieco
Welz & Weisel Communications (for WIT)
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