Knowledge Center

This year marks the tenth year that Catalyst has counted the number of women serving on Fortune 500 boards. The census lists women board directors alphabetically by company, and provides lists of the numbers of women directors and total directors by company revenue, industry, and state. The report also documents the number of women directors of color. The report represents the gender diversity of corporate governance at Fortune 500 companies as of April 1, 2005.

Catalyst has been counting women serving on Fortune 500 boards since 1995, when women held 9.6 percent of board seats in Fortune 500 companies. In 2005, women hold 14.7 percent of board seats at Fortune 500 companies, an average increase of 0.5 percentage points per year. Almost 90 percent of companies had at least one women board director, up 0.2 percentage points from 2003. Sixty-four companies had 25 percent or more women directors, compared with 54 companies in 2003. Despite these steady improvements the pace of change remains slow. Women serving on multiple boards decreased slightly from 2003. In addition, progress for women of color on boards increased at an even slower rate. Women of color hold just 3.4 percent of all Fortune 500 board seats. The share of board seats held by women of color fell 0.6 percentage points between 2003 and 2005.

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