European Women on Board (EWoB) Gender Diversity Index 2020

by | Feb 25, 2021 | All, Empowerment of Women in `leadership, Gender Equality at Work

This report analyses women’s participation in corporate governance in the largest European  companies that are listed in the STOXX 600 Europe index or, in some countries, national stock exchange indexes. In this 2020 edition we see, on one hand, that gender equality in corporate leadership is still far from reality:

  • 28% of business leaders in executive and non-executive roles in the 668 companies analysed were women;
  • Women represent only 34% of all board members in the companies analysed. Board level is actually the layer of governance with greatest participation of women;
  • The situation is worst at executive level where women represent only 17% of all leaders; and
  • Only 42 (6%) of 668 companies analysed have a female CEO. Only 130 (19%) of companies have a woman in at least one of these roles: CEO, COO or

On the other hand, in this 2020 edition we see promising signs of improvement:

  • The number of companies in the sample with high participation of women in decision making has doubled in a year. This is measured by the Gender Diversity Index explained in this report. The number of companies that reach an index of 8 or more has increased from 30 to 62 in a year. The ideal score of the index is 1;
  • This improvement is mostly driven by the fact that there are now 87 companies in the sample where the share of women in all leadership roles is 40% or more, and this

is a notable improvement compared to 47 in 2019; and

  • There are substantially more women who joined corporate leadership roles than those who left in one year. While women were 35% of all persons who were newly appointed to leadership roles, they were only 24% among those who

At the same time, we see companies that are already doing relatively well on the indicators analysed improving on the presence of women at the most senior levels. On the other hand, companies at the bottom end of the ranking are making minimal if any progress.

Companies from Norway, France, the UK, Finland, and Sweden are closest to having gender-balanced governance and this is relatively unchanged since 2019.

Companies in the financial and insurance services, consumption goods and retail and “other” (i.e. utilities and travel and leisure) tend to have greater gender balance in their leadership than those in other sectors, but the differences are not statistically significant.

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