Variation in Female Board Representation within the United States (Lamb and Gladman)

The percentage of female directors on corporate boards is known to vary widely among countries, due to factors including different regulatory regimes, cultural attitudes, and stages of economic development. The current study set out to explore whether similar regional variations exist within a single country, the United States. Its findings suggest that while strong
regional variations in female board representation do exist in the US, they are largely the result of the diverse mix of industries prevailing in different parts of the country.

Overall, the study finds the Midwest leading the nation with respect to boardroom gender diversity, with the Northeast ranking second and the Mountain, South, and West regions lagging behind. However, these regional differences become clearer when the levels of female directors at companies in different industries are in taken into account. For example, the Midwest has a relatively high number of consumer products companies, which tend to have comparatively gender-diverse boards overall. Similarly, in the Mountain, South, and West regions, a large proportion of the companies are in the energy and technology sectors, where boards tend to be more male-dominated.

These findings suggest that that the best way to address these regional inequities may be through industry-based initiatives. For example, companies in the energy and technology sectors may need to recruit female executives from below the C-suite level if the top positions in those industries are held to a disproportionate degree by men.

Download Report


, ,