Gender and Leadership in the Boardroom: Progress in a Tumultuous Year

Diligent Institute’s second annual report on gender diversity and female leadership in public company boardrooms.

Key findings


of public company board seats are held by female directors.


of board chairs and lead directors are women.


of female directors hold leadership positions.


 of male directors hold board leadership positions.

ESG | Boards and governance

About the report

The number of women serving on listed company boards has been slowly but steadily increasing over the last decade, yet more progress is needed to ensure women are fully included in board leadership. As a follow-up to our 2020 report, Diligent Institute set out to investigate this issue.

Gender Diversity in the Boardroom: Progress in a Tumultuous Year report

Are women directors well represented on board committees? 

Compared to 2020, female
representation in committees has risen three
percentage points, from 24% to 27%, and women’s
representation in board committee chair roles rose by
the same margin, from 21% to 24%.

Are female directors younger than their male counterparts?

The age differences between male and female board
members is roughly the same as it was in 2020 at
about 3.6 years, with female directors tending to be
younger on average.

Are female directors serving on more boards than their male counterparts?

Globally, 55.5% of the male directors in our dataset held more
than one position, and that number was only slightly
higher for female directors at 56.6%.


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