Mountain View, CA (March 9, 2017) – Fenwick & West today released its Gender Diversity Survey, which provides unique insight into women’s participation at the most senior levels of public technology and life sciences companies in the Silicon Valley 150 Index and the large public companies in the Standard & Poor’s 100 Index.
The report reviews public filings from 1996 through 2016 to analyze the gender makeup of boards, board leadership, board committees and executive management teams in the two groups, with special comparisons showing how the top 15 largest companies in the SV 150 fare, as they are the peers of the large public companies included in the S&P 100.
Key observations include:
Growth rates remain low.
Size continues to matter—the bigger the company, the more diverse its leadership.
Women CEOs are rare in the United States, but companies in the SV 150 and S&P 100 exceed the general corporate population.
Women NEOs are more likely in the SV 150 than the S&P 100.
The Top 15 of SV 150 had more women NEOs under a woman CEO.
“Our data shows that women in senior leadership positions continue to be significantly underrepresented relative to their percentage in the general population and the broader U.S. workforce,” Fenwick corporate partner Kristine Di Bacco noted. “That said, there are some pockets of improvement that are worth noting, especially in the top 15 largest of the Silicon Valley 150 companies.”
Di Bacco pointed to the increase of women board leaders in Silicon Valley companies, including the appointments of women as lead directors—now often considered the most significant board leadership role—and the growth rate of women NEOs, which are also deemed positions of significance in terms of prominence, responsibility and compensation.
Gerri Elliott, a member of the board of directors at Imperva and a member of the Advisory Board for BoardList, the Silicon Valley initiative to increase the number of women on tech boards, noted, “Gender diversity is an issue I care deeply about. I appreciate David Bell, Kristine Di Bacco and Fenwick’s work on this survey, which looks at decades of data to delve more deeply into women’s representation among public company boards. The approach is balanced and reveals bright spots without detracting from areas where tech and life sciences companies need to continue focusing on increased parity.”
Complete results of the survey with related discussion are available on Fenwick & West’s website at Fenwick.com/GenderDiversity.
About the Survey
The Fenwick & West Gender Diversity Survey is co-authored by corporate partners David A. Bell and Kristine M. Di Bacco. The survey looks at public companies included in the Standard & Poor’s 100 Index (S&P 100) and the high technology and life sciences companies included in the Silicon Valley 150 Index (SV 150) with an eye toward women’s participation in leadership positions. This in-depth set of information covers gender diversity trends for the period between the 1996 proxy season through the 2016 proxy season.
About Fenwick & West
Fenwick & West LLP provides comprehensive legal services to ground-breaking technology and life sciences companies – at every stage of their lifecycle – and the investors that partner with them. We craft innovative, cost-effective and practical solutions on issues ranging from venture capital, public offerings, joint ventures, M&A and strategic relationships, to intellectual property, litigation and dispute resolution, taxation, antitrust, and employment and labor law. For more than four decades, Fenwick has helped some of the world's most recognized companies become and remain market leaders. For more information, please visit fenwick.com.