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Leadership News Briefs

Gender Diversity Index Reveals Women Now Hold 27.3 Percent of Board Seats

Forty-two percent of newly appointed corporate board directors in Q1 2022 were women, according to this report.

50/50 Women on Boards, a leading non-profit education and advocacy campaign, drives the movement toward gender diversity on corporate boards. Its First Quarter 2022 Gender Diversity Index showed that women hold 27.3 percent of the Russell 3000 company board seats. The year-over-year increase from 2021 is 2.9 percent. Forty-two percent of the 667 directors who joined boards in Q1 2022 were women. This decreased from 48 percent in Q3 and Q4 of 2021. It was slightly higher than 41 percent in Q1 2021. 

Other key findings of the First Quarter 2022 Gender Diversity Index

  • Of Russell 3000 Index companies, 265 (nine percent) have gender-balanced boards. 1,217 (42 percent) have more than three women on boards and 1,394 (49 percent) have two or fewer women on boards.
  • 86 percent of the seats gained by women were added to a board rather than waiting for a man to retire.
  • 26 percent of directors reported their race and ethnicity, up from 21 percent in Q4 2021. Among them, five percent identified as Asian / Pacific Islander, seven percent as Black / African American, three percent as Hispanic/Latino and one percent as Indigenous People, Middle Eastern / North African, Multiracial, or Other.
  • Of the 25 states with over 20 companies, 21 have greater than 25 percent women on the boards. The number increased from 17 states in Q4 2021. The states that newly exceeded 25 percent are Colorado, Maryland, Tennessee, and Texas. California with 32.5 percent and Washington with 30.5 percent are two states with over 30 percent women.
  • Sectors that exceeded the national average of women include utilities (31.9 percent), consumer defensive (30.7 percent), consumer cyclical (30.3 percent), and real estate and technology (28 percent).

The slower pace in California

In Q1 2022 in California, women only gained 25 seats, a dramatic difference from 100 or more seats gained between Q3 and Q4 2021, when companies had a deadline to meet to comply with SB 826. With SB 826 and AB 979 deemed unconstitutional in May 2022, the slower pace could reflect companies taking their foot off the pedal.

“The recent SB 826 ruling only reinforces the critical need for 50/50 Women on Boards to continue our mission. We are committed to educating women on how to obtain board seats and collaborate with corporations to drive the business imperative of gender-balanced and diverse boards,” said Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire, CEO of 50/50 Women on Boards. “The State of CA is in process of appealing the LA County judge’s decision to overturn SB 826. We are confident higher courts will reinstate it.”

To read the full report, please visit

50/50 Women on Boards’ workshops provide women the steps to pursue a board position at any stage in their career. To register, visit  

About 50/50 Women on Boards (50/50WOB)

50/50 Women on Boards, a leading nonprofit 501(c)3 education and advocacy campaign, drives the movement toward boardroom gender balance. 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 by board size, state, sector, and rating. Its public awareness campaigns and educational programs include The Global Conversation on Board Diversity. In addition, it offers workshops for women striving to advance as leaders or pursue a board seat. For more information, visit

For more resources and research on boardroom gender diversity, read this on Lioness.

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