Over the past few weeks, Women Serve on Boards has rolled out a new social media campaign focused on the remaining 20 Fortune 500 companies that have yet to appoint a woman to its Board of Directors. It is no surprise that these companies are mainly concentrated in Agribusiness, Energy & Infrastructure, Petroleum, Finance, and Automotive industries. These industries have outlived many others, dating back to the early 1800s, and have produced behemoths of global capitalism. The origins for these companies’ executives are dominated by males, and it made sense during the time of traditional nuclear families and gender roles. But it doesn’t make sense anymore. There is no excuse. These companies are veterans in their sector and stable with proven long-term revenue, so it is even more inconceivable that these companies have neglected to move the needle – they are in the best position. The founders were pioneers of their time, and there is no reason that the current companies’ leaders should not be pioneers now, paving the way for gender equality.
A recent multi-year study found that there have been some gains for women on corporate boards, but they have been negligible at best, and certainly not representative of the broad demographic changes we have seen in the United States in the same period of time. With all the advancements and developments in these companies’ industries over the past 200 years, it does not seem fathomable that adding the XX chromosome to the Board of Directors has not happened. If the 20 companies from the Women Serve on Boards’ new campaign take action, it will build board diversity and extinguish any disgraceful reality that zero board diversity still exists in some of the leading global companies. Such a small, easy step compared to what some of these companies have already weathered.