Women in Technology’s The Leadership Foundry Releases Annual Study on Women Serving on Corporate Boards

With only a .8 percent increase in the number of women serving on local boards, change in the workplace is moving at a glacial pace

Fairfax, Va. – November 6, 2014 – Women in Technology (WIT), the premier organization contributing to the success of professional women in the technology community in the Washington, D.C. area, held its annual luncheon of The Leadership Foundry to launch its fourth research report conducted by American University’s Kogod School of Business titled “Women Board Directors in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., September 2014.”

The report provides in-depth analysis of women board members from 203 publicly traded companies headquartered in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. The findings of the 2014 study reveal a slight increase in women serving on corporate boards growing from 11 percent in 2013 to 11.8 percent in 2014, but few companies reached levels of inclusion that would allow them to truly benefit from board member diversity by achieving “critical mass” (three or more women on the board).

This year, the study expanded its scope to take a deeper look at the boards of three companies in particular to investigate their successful integration of female board members, surpassing their competitors. Despite the gains of these companies, there is a continuing void of women serving as board members at local, publicly traded companies. Specific results include:

  • 11.8 percent of the 1,900 corporate board seats in the Washington, D.C. area are held by women, compared to a Fortune 1000 average of just over 16 percent
  • One-third of Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.-based companies do not have even one woman on their board of directors
  • Nearly 93 percent of Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. companies do not achieve the “critical mass” of three or more women board members

“While there are some women serving now on corporate boards, both the total numbers and the rate of increase, are way too small. There are many qualified women out there, and I challenge D.C.-area companies to seek them out,” says WIT President Kellye Sheehan.

Since WIT began collaborating with Kogod School of Business in 2010, it has leveraged this report to help build awareness of and influence change around the number of women serving on corporate boards in the Washington, D.C. region.  As part of its mission, WIT created The Leadership Foundry to prepare women leaders to serve on corporate boards. Through The Leadership Foundry, senior women executives have the opportunity to be a part of a program that provides intensive board training sessions, access to the knowledge of a steering committee of industry leaders with extensive board experience as well as educational and networking events.

“The message for local companies is clear: gender diversity provides a competitive advantage,” says Julie Bloecher, Chair of The Leadership Foundry. “And the more that this is understood and accepted, the closer The Leadership Foundry will be to achieving its goal of advancing women to the boardroom.”

The research was conducted by Kesang Chungyalpa and Kate Large at American University’s Kogod School of Business under the guidance of faculty research sponsor Jill Klein and WIT project director Lori DeLorenzo. All companies included in this report are listed on the major stock exchanges (NYSE and NASDAQ).

Click HERE for a copy of the 2014 report and for more information about The Leadership Foundry.

About Women in Technology
Women in Technology (WIT) is a not-for-profit organization with the mission of advancing women in technology—from the classroom to the boardroom—by providing advocacy, leadership development, networking, mentoring and technology education. With nearly 1000 members in the Washington, D.C. area, WIT strives to meet its vision of being the premier organization empowering women to be architects of change in the technology industry. For more information, please visit, www.womenintechnology.org or connect with us via: Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter (@WITWomen).

Media Contact:
Hilary Sharp
Vice Chair, WIT Communications Committee
[email protected]