Women and Minorities Stalled on Fortune 500 Boards


A new study from the Alliance for Board Diversity and Deloitte, Missing Pieces Report: The 2016 Board Diversity Census of Women and Minorities on Fortune 500 Boards, reveals that women and minorities hold 31 percent of board seats at Fortune 500 companies, representing a mere increase over the past four years.

Thirty-one percent is the highest amounts of seats women and minorities have help in the study’s existence, but their progress have been slow-moving and over two-thirds of Fortune 500 boardrooms are occupied by white men. These findings show that regardless of pledges or initiatives in support of diversity and inclusion (D&I), these companies have not had much success in increasing women and minorities in their boardrooms.

Study Findings, 2012-2016:

  • African American/Black Men increased 1.0%
  • African American/Black Women increased 18.4%
  • Asian/Pacific Islander Men increased 10.8%
  • Asian/Pacific Islander Women increased 46.7%
  • Hispanic/Latino(a) Men increased 5.8%
  • Hispanic/Latino(a) Women decreased 4.7%
  • Caucasian/White Men decreased 6.4%
  • Caucasian/White Women increased 21.2%

“With the current rate of progress, we aren’t likely to see the number of minorities and women increase to our target of 40 percent representation until the year 2026,” stated Ronald C. Parker, chairman of the Alliance for Board Diversity. “This is not acceptable. Corporations need to do more to keep pace with the country’s changing demographics.”

Many of these companies continue turning to men who have extensive executive experience to fill board seats, but opportunities need to be expanded to women. Targeting women and minorities for multiple board seats may seem progressive but it can also have harmful effects, as it limits opportunities for other capable candidates.

There’s a saying that explains that in order to have something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done. If equality, in every sense, is a true goal for the American workplace, companies must empower women and minorities and allow them to participate.