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Women of Color Least Represented on Corporate Boards

Women of Color Least Represented on Corporate Boards

People of color are still grossly underrepresented on corporate executive and board member positions in Fortune 100 companies, according to a survey on corporate diversity by Senator Bob Menéndez (D-NJ). The Chair of the Senate Democratic Hispanic Taskforce and the highest-ranking Latino in Congress examined demographic diversity among the top executives and corporate boards of America’s most successful companies determined by Fortune Magazine. From Apple to Amazon and Nike to Johnson & Johnson, the results show slow progress and suggest that corporate America still has a long way to go towards representational diversity. Women of color continue to be the least represented group, yet they are a bigger number of the population than white men at 31%. Women of color made up 5.6% of corporate board membership with 42 across all four racial/ethnic categories (21 African American, 11 Asian American and 10 Latina women). Women made up 25.3% (257) of all executive team positions and racial or ethnic minorities were 16.3% (166) -- despite the majority of the participating Fortune 100 Companies 85.2% (52) having a Chief Diversity Officer. Only 37.7% (23) of the companies include numeric targets for diversity at the executive team levels and only 11.5% (7) companies set specific targets for diverse recruitment among their Board of Directors. And just over half (52.5%) of the participating companies have incentives or accountability measures to help their company evaluate, meet and exceed their diversity goals. Among racial/ethnic minorities, African Americans held the highest number of corporate board seats at 82 (10.9%), followed by Latinos with 37 (4.9%), and Asian Americans with 27 (3.6%). Native Americans did not hold a single board position (0.0%) among the sampled companies. Women are half of the country’s population, people of color are currently more than a quarter but represent the rising majority. “In the coming decades we will have a majority-minority population. Therefore, companies that incorporate women and minority professionals into every level of their corporate hierarchies will be best positioned to reach an increasingly diverse pool of consumers,” Menéndez said. “The advancement of women and people of color in corporate fast-growing industries is therefore not only good for business but good for the country and vital to our long-term prosperity.” Read the full report here.

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