Knowledge Center

The 2009 Catalyst Census: Fortune 500 Women Board Directors details women’s representation in corporate governance at the largest companies in the United States. For the first time, Catalyst expanded analysis to include lead directors and board chairs to gain a more robust measurement of women’s power on boards. This annual report provides critical statistics to gauge women’s advancement and highlights the gender diversity gap. Each year Catalyst tracks women’s share of all board seats and of positions of board leadership; the representation of women of color directors; and the percent of companies having zero to three or more women and women of color directors. The appendices show additional points of comparison by Fortune Rank, Region, and Industry, and list companies with the highest and lowest representation of women board directors

In 2009, women held 15.2 percent of board seats at Fortune 500 companies, the same as 2008. In both 2008 and 2009, almost 90 percent of companies had at least one women director, but less than 20 percent had three or more women serving together. Similar to 2008, women of color held 3.1 percent of all board seats and represented about one-fifth of all women directors. In both 2008 and 2009, more than one-fourth of companies had one women of color director, but no company had three or more women of color directors serving together.

Sponsor: Ernst & Young