The Fenwick & West Gender Diversity Survey 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 (SV 150) and the large public companies in the Standard
& Poor's 100 Index (S&P 100).
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.
Companies, board members and C-level executives can use this
survey as a statistical benchmark for Silicon Valley leaders, as
well as for comparison to the landscape of the largest public
companies across the United States.
Download the report that reviews twenty-one years of filings to
analyze the gender makeup of boards and management teams.
Key observations from the survey include:
Growth rates remain low.
The representation of women on boards
continued to increase between 2014—the last year Fenwick
published the Gender Diversity Survey—and 2016 in the United
States but at lower rates than in other countries. The average
percentage of women directors increased 4.1 percentage points in
the SV 150 to 14.1% in 2016 and in the S&P 100 rose 2.2
percentage points to 23.1% (with the top 15 companies in the SV 150
increasing 6.5 percentage points to 22.2%).
However, in both the S&P 100 and
the top 15 of the SV 150, 100% of companies have had at least one
woman director in the last few years. In the SV 150 overall, the
percentage of companies with at least one woman director increased
12 percentage points to 74%.
Size continues to matter—the bigger the company,
the more diverse its leadership.
Larger companies by revenue and
market capitalization tend to have larger boards and executive
management teams, which tend to be more diverse.
In recent years, the top 15 largest
companies in the SV 150 have surpassed the S&P 100 in
percentage of women in board leadership positions, including board
chairs, lead directors, and committee chairs.
What's more, when measured in
terms of likelihood of being in a board leadership position among
women that serve as board members, the top 15 of the SV 150 and the
SV 150 overall have been significantly more likely to include women
in board leadership positions than the S&P 100.
Women CEOs are rare in the United States, but companies
in the SV 150 and S&P 100 exceed the general corporate
Women Chief Executive Officers (CEOs)
continue to be a rarity in the United States but companies in the
SV 150, with 6% women CEOs, and the S&P 100, with 7% women
CEOs, appear to slightly exceed the percentage of women CEOs in the
general corporate population (approximately 4%).
The top 15 companies of the SV 150,
though a small sample set, notched a notable increase in women
CEOs, coming in at 13.3%.
Women NEOs are more likely in the SV 150 than the
The average percentage growth rate of
women named executive officers (NEOs)—executives that are
generally the most highly compensated and in some sense those that
a company considers among the most important—has been faster
in the SV 150 (approximately 705% growth) than in the S&P 100
(approximately 544% growth).
What's more, when measured in
terms of likelihood of being an NEO among women that serve as
executive officers, the SV 150 has been significantly more likely
to include women as NEOs than the S&P 100, and in the most
recent year the top 15 of the SV 150 were slightly more likely to
include women than men as NEOs.
For each of the S&P 100, top 15 of the SV 150 and the full
SV 150, the survey includes review of the gender diversity of:
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