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Gender diversity in the boardroom

Although women comprise half our population, fewer than 16 per cent serve on corporate boards.

Some of Canada’s largest companies are taking big steps to narrow this gender diversity gap. Coast Capital Savings Credit Union and Desjardins Group are two of 26 leading corporations to sign the Catalyst Accord, pledging to increase the overall proportion of FP 500 (a ranking of Canada’s largest 500 companies by revenue) board seats held by women to 25 per cent by 2017.

The 2013 Catalyst Census: Financial Post 500 Women Board Directors, a biennial study, found that women held just 15.9 per cent of board seats. This was a modest increase from 14.5 per cent in 2011, but the pace of growth continues to be slow. In fact, in the last two years of the study (2013 and 2011) an estimated 40 per cent of companies had no women on their boards.

“By publicly committing to boardroom diversity and setting goals, these companies serve as role models for others, demonstrating that leadership and accountability start at the top,” said Alex Johnston, executive director, Catalyst Canada. ◊