Gender diversity on corporate boards improves the bottom line

Women comprise about half of NC population and only about a quarter of board seats

March 25. Women are underrepresented among the board of directors of the 50 largest publicly traded companies in North Carolina, according to research conducted by the University of North Carolina’s School of Law Director Diversity Initiative.

Despite making up 51 percent of the total North Carolina population, women only represent 26.4 percent of board members from the top 50 North Carolina public companies.

This, despite a 2020 study by McKinsey revealed that companies with more diverse boards and executive teams are 25 percent more likely to deliver above-average profitability and outperform their less-diverse corporate counterparts.

Machelle Baker Sanders


“Increasing gender diversity on corporate boards and in leadership positions benefits company value, employee retention and satisfaction, and our economy,” said NC Commerce Secretary, Machelle Baker Sanders.

Companies are attracted to North Carolina because of our highly skilled and diverse workforce, and board rooms should reflect the demographics of the company’s customers as well as the state where they conduct business.

Improvements have been made

Over the past decade, women’s representation on the top corporate boards in North Carolina has more than doubled but is still well short of parity. This lack of representation is further compounded for women of color. According to the most recent data obtained from the census by UNC’s Diversity Director Initiative (DDI), people of color hold only 15.7 percent of director positions, according to board proxy statements from the 2021 census year obtained by UNC’s Director Diversity Initiative.



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