Florida Chapters of Global Women’s Organizations Launch the Florida Census of Women Public Company Directors

Share Article

Florida Members of 50/50 Women on Boards™ (50/50WOB), International Women’s Forum (IWF) and Women Corporate Directors Foundation (WCD) have teamed up with The University of Tampa and the Knight Foundation to launch the first Florida Census of Women Public Company Directors to promote the inclusion of women on corporate boards in the state and to monitor the status of women on these boards.

News Image
"We suspect most companies want to add more women to their boards and we are offering to help," says Deborah Ellinger, chair of the Tampa Chapter of WCD.

Florida Members of 50/50 Women on Boards™ (50/50WOB), International Women’s Forum (IWF) and Women Corporate Directors Foundation (WCD) have teamed up with The University of Tampa and the Knight Foundation to launch the first Florida Census of Women Public Company Directors to promote the inclusion of women on corporate boards in the state and to monitor the status of women on these boards.

While numerous independent research studies show that companies with gender diverse boards have better financial performance, greater levels of innovation, and stronger connections with stakeholders, the lack of gender representation on corporate boards has been an ongoing challenge for U.S. companies. Based on 50/50WOB’s Russell 3000 rankings research of the 25 states with more than 20 public companies, as of June 30, 2022, Florida is currently in last place.

"We are disappointed that Florida is three percentage points less than the national average of 28% women on boards," says Stephanie Sonnabend, co-founder of 50/50 Women on Boards. "It is not a result of Florida's industry mix or company size; it's a lack of awareness and focus on the importance of gender diversity.”

These organization are calling on Florida public companies to:
-Add 50 more women to their boards by the end of 2023 and at least 25, or half, should be women of color
-Every company with fewer than three women: get to three women or gender-balanced as quickly as possible
-Double the number of gender-balanced boards for a total of 16 Florida public companies
-Have no companies with zero women on their boards

“We suspect most companies want to add more women to their boards and we are offering to help. We have a deep network of well-qualified women who meet the qualifications needed – C-Suite officers such as CEOs, COOs, CIOs, CMOs and many others – the talent is there for any company that is open to the conversation,” says Deborah Ellinger, chair of the Tampa Chapter of WCD.

Launched in June 2022, the collaborative network of women’s organizations formed a task force and called on The University of Tampa as a research partner to further explore Florida’s last place ranking. The study reviewed industry sector, company size and board size and found no compelling reason why Florida should be behind. The good news is that when Florida companies have women in key leadership roles they outperform state and national trends for board gender diversity, and companies achieving board gender parity in the state are increasing.

Rebecca White, director of the Lowth Entrepreneurship Center at The University of Tampa, explained that the data for this research project was collected from a variety of sources, organized, and analyzed by a team of University of Tampa faculty from the Sykes College of Business. "We were pleased to be able to provide baseline, objective information that the Task Force can use to benchmark progress toward gender diversity in future years,” says White.

All three organizations, 50/50WOB, IWF and WCD, are committed to being a resource for companies committed to diversifying their board seats by providing advice and making introductions to qualified candidates for corporate companies in the state. They will also be a resource for women who are looking to fill these board opportunities.

“Our organizations have come together to be a catalyst for change,” says Lucie Lapovsky, President of IWF Suncoast. “We believe it is important to put a spotlight on the situation by providing the data, tracking changes over time, and offering our help.”

For more information about this collaborative initiative between 50/50 Women on Boards, International Women’s Forum and The Women Corporate Directors Foundation or the Florida Census of Women Public Company Directors, visit: WomenOnBoardsFL.org.

About International Women’s Forum
International Women’s Forum (IWF) is a global organization of more than 7,500 women leaders in 33 countries. It is an invitation-only membership organization of accomplished women in diverse professions whose purpose is to advance women leaders to drive positive change and champion equality through connection, education and the exchange of ideas. IWF has three chapters in the state of Florida, IWF Florida Suncoast, IWF Palm Beach and IWF Florida. Learn more at: iwforum.org

About The Women Corporate Directors Foundation
The Women Corporate Directors Foundation (WCD) is the largest global membership organization for women corporate directors. WCD has chapters around the world and members serve on more than 8,500 public and private boards. WCD’s mission is to connect board members to their peers, increase the representation of women on boards and to advance visionary corporate governance. Learn more at: womencorporatedirectors.org

About 50/50 Women on Boards
50/50 Women on Boards™ (50/50WOB) is the leading global nonprofit education and advocacy campaign driving the movement toward gender balance and diversity on corporate boards. Since 2011 the campaign has published its 50/50 Women on Boards Gender Diversity Index™ directory and research reports to track the gender and racial diversity of Russell 3000 company board directors. Educational programs and advocacy efforts produced by 50/50WOB include its annual Global Conversation on Board Diversity, year-round board-readiness educational workshops, and the Networking Hub for alumni to connect to experts and corporate directors in support of their board journey. For more information, 5050wob.com

About The University of Tampa
The University of Tampa is a private, comprehensive university located on 110 acres on the riverfront in downtown Tampa. Known for academic excellence, personal attention and real-world experience in its undergraduate and graduate programs, the University has about 200 programs of study and serves 10,600 students from 50 states and most of the world’s countries. Learn more at: ut.edu

About Knight Foundation
As part of a commitment to increasing transparency and advancing diversity, Knight Foundation is proud to support the effort to improve the number of women who serve on public company boards in Florida. As social investors, Knight supports democracy by funding free expression and journalism, arts and culture in community, research in areas of media and democracy, and in the success of American cities and towns where the Knight brothers once published newspapers. Learn more at kf.org and follow @knightfdn on social media.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print