Women Still Under-Represented in California Boardrooms

Women comprise just 10.9 percent of the directors and executive officers of the 400 largest companies in the state, up slightly from 10.4 percent last year, according to a fourth annual study of California women business leaders by the University of California at Davis Graduate School of Management.

 “There is only one woman for every nine men in the executive suites and boardrooms of these high-profile companies,” Nicole Woolsey Biggart, the graduate school’s dean writes in the study’s preface.

 “Overall, very little has changed in the gender diversity of the upper echelon of decision makers of the largest public companies in California.”

 Among the study’s other findings:

 Of the 400 companies surveyed, nearly 30 percent – 117 – have no women board members and no women executives.

 Women occupy 10 percent of the seats on the boards of the companies surveyed. That’s up from 9.4 percent last year and 8.8 percent in 2006.  Since the 2007 study, 173 companies named 313 new directors of whom only 47 – 15 percent – were women.

 More than 30 percent of the companies have only one woman on their boards. But all 10 of California’s Fortune 100 companies have at least one woman on their boards of directors.

 Overall, California’s largest companies have almost three times as many women directors as the smallest companies.

 Almost half pf the companies – 187 – have all-male boards of directors. In the high tech industry, 74 percent of telecommunications companies and 69 percent of semiconductor companies have all-male boards.

 Apple Inc., National Semiconductor Corp., Intel Corp. and Kaiser Aluminum Corp are among the companies with no female directors on their boards,

 Pharmaceutical companies had the highest percentage of women directors at 14.6 percent. The media is close second at 13.5 percent. Telecommunications has the fewest – 3.6 percent.

 In counties containing 20 or more companies, San Francisco had the most women directors at 15.2 percent and the Silicon Valley had the least at 8.6 percent. Silicon Valley also has the lowest representation of women on its executive teams.

 The number of women executive officers statewide is up slightly from 2007 rising from 11.6 percent to 12 percent of the 2,782 executive officers at the 400 companies surveyed.

 Top executive jobs include but are limited to: chief operating officer, chief executive officer, chief financial officer and chief information officer.

 While 26 companies have three or more women executives and 13 have a female CEO, 194 of the 400 largest public companies in California have all-male executive teams – only five fewer than in 2007.

 Among the companies with no women executives are Amgen inc., Apple Inc., Chevron Corp., Dole Food Co. Inc., Intel Corp., National Semiconductor Corp. and Xilinx Inc.

 Among the companies who have a female CEO are Advent Software Inc., Bare Escentuals Inc., Jack in the Box Inc. and Wilshire Bancorp Inc.

 Both the president and chief operating officer of Williams-Sonoma Inc. are women. The chief operating officers of Oracle Corp., Molina Healthcare Inc, DreamWorks Animation Inc and Yahoo! Inc. are women.

 In the financial industry, nearly one in five executives are women – the highest percentage. Energy and utilities and retail have the second and third highest percentages.  

 Among counties with at least 20 companies, San Francisco and Alameda have the highest number of women executives – 15.6 percent and 13.8 percent, respectively.

 Of the companies surveyed, Nora Bancorp Inc. had the highest percentage of female executives at 50 percent. Bare Escentuals was second with 45.5 percent. 


Peet’s Coffee & Tea inc., which was ranked 175th in 2007 for percentage of women executives climbed to 20th this year with 27.3 percent of its executives female.

 Nearly 31 percent of Southern California Edison’s executives are women as are 30 percent of Clorox’s executives.

 The study concludes by noting that women remain underrepresented on the boards of directors and top management teams of California’s large public companies – to the detriment of those companies.

 Women, the survey reports, make businesses more profitable. Greater gender diversity on the boards of Fortune 500 companies leads to higher returns on equity, sales and invested capital, according to a 2007 study by Catalyst, a national non-profit working to expand the opportunities for women in business.  

Filed under: News


  1. M Paquette: Who are you? The truth squad? All of us down here in Stockton knew
    what the Gregster was talking about. You must go crazy when your scan the Bee.

    Comment by Gus Turdlock — 11.17.2008 @ 3:40 pm

  2. Dear M. Paquette — Thanks for the heads-up. I’ll forward your information to the Graduate School. Would that I were a clever enough raconteur to use obsolete data to gin up blog traffic.

    Comment by admin — 11.17.2008 @ 4:48 pm

  3. I was wondering when snark would make its way into the Gregster’s commentary. Why do people insist on being so unkind and smug?

    Comment by Robyn Boyer — 11.17.2008 @ 7:24 pm

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