All-male startup boards cut in half over the last four years, per new study
The new report from Him For Her and Crunchbase analyzed the boards of 677 private companies and noticed a downward trend of male-dominated environments.
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Him For Her and Crunchbase recently released their fourth annual report on gender diversity on private company boards, which analyzed 667 U.S.-based private companies that had raised at least $100 million in cumulative funding. The results of the 2022 study show that over the last four years, the number of all-male boards is on the swift decline — down half since the first study was released in 2019.
From its start, the analysis has highlighted that the percentage of boards of directors made up exclusively of men. In 2022, among the most-financed private companies in the country, just 32% of the private company boards included are made up of only men. The latest data also found that women occupy 16% of board positions, compared to 14% in the previous year.
Ann Shepherd, co-founder of social impact venture Him For Her, said:
The dramatic reduction in the number of all-male boardrooms is largely driven by the appointment of women as independent board directors.
Despite the progress that's been tracked, there's still a ways to go when it comes to equitable representation.
- Just over a third (32%) of companies analyzed don’t have any women on their boards, an improvement from 39% in the prior year and 60% in 2019. The companies with all-male boards represent $56 billion in funding and employ more than 78,000 people.
- Women hold 16% of board seats among the companies studied, up from 14% in 2021 and 7% in the inaugural study in 2019.
- Between 2019 and 2022, women gained an average of just over half a board seat (0.6). Women now represent roughly one out of seven board members.
- Only 4% of all directors are women of color, reflecting a slight improvement from 3% in the prior year.
- For the first time, the number of women of color surpassed the number of board members named 'Dave.'
- More than three quarters of company boards (76%) do not include a single woman of color.
- Women are most likely to occupy an independent director seat (54%), as compared with an investor director (34%) or executive director (13%) seat.
- Investor directors hold fewer than half of board seats (47%, down from 56% in 2019), as independent directors command a larger board footprint (31%, up from 20% in 2019).
- Companies with at least one woman on the board have raised an average of 16% more in cumulative funding than companies without any women board members.
- Life sciences companies outperform technology companies on board-diversity metrics.
“While the share of board seats held by women has more than doubled since the annual tracking study was launched in 2019, women are still missing from the boardrooms of nearly a third of the companies studied,” underlined the study.
The follow-up update largely replicated the methodology employed in the three previous studies in 2019, 2020, and 2021. For the 2022 study, researchers analyzed 677 of the most heavily-funded private companies in the U.S. to understand the composition of their boards of directors as of the third quarter of 2022 — one year after the previous study.
The study sample was drawn from a population of 2,626 U.S.-based private companies founded since 2003 with cumulative funding of at least $100 million as of June 30, 2022, according to Crunchbase data. To ensure that each company's board profile was up-to-date, only companies that published their board of directors on their websites were included.
“Over the course of four years conducting this study and analyzing the data, we’ve seen a remarkable amount of progress. While this should absolutely be celebrated, we don’t want to lose sight of how far companies still have to go. Women still only make up roughly 1 out of 7 board members. Only 4% of all directors are women of color. Our hope is that these numbers continue to tick upward in the years ahead,” said Gené Teare, senior data editor at Crunchbase.