Retail and Consumer Products companies – where women’s
consumer strength is most evident –
industries in placing women on the boards of directors,
but the numbers are far from where they should be given
women’s market impact.
The percentage of women board directors in the top retail and
consumer products companies globally is 18.4%.
is 3.4% higher than the percentage of women directors on
the boards of the
Fortune Global 200 companies, which stands at 15%.
men still dominate
the corporate board rooms (81.6%) in this industry.
Among the best performers,
first in CWDI’s
“Top Ten” list of companies with the highest percentage
of female directors is Avon Products, with 60% women
directors (six of ten).
Avon is followed by Douglas Holdings AG,
a German perfume, book, jewelry and confection retailer
with over 1,900 stores, which has 56.3% women directors.
Two Swedish companies have women comprising half
of their board directors – Clothing retailer H+M and
Axfood, one of the largest supermarket chains in
Nearly 80% (134 of 168) of the top retail and consumer product
companies have at least one woman board director – a higher percentage than the 76.5%
of companies in the
200 with one or more female directors.
The majority (76%) of the retail/consumer
products companies with no women directors are based in
Regionally, European and North American do better in placing women
on corporate boards:
23.9% of board
directors are women in European retail/consumer products
companies, while in North America, woman occupy 22.3% of
board seats in the same industry.
African companies in the study (11.4%),
Asia-Pacific (9.6%), and Latin American (9.5%)
retail/consumer product companies all fall significantly
short of the 18.4% average representation within the
Quotas and gender diversity language in corporate governance codes
continue to bring about higher percentages of women on
Companies based in
countries where there is a legislative quota (Belgium,
France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain) have 24% of their
board seats held by women, compared to only 17.8% for
those companies based in countries without a quota.
The retail/consumer products companies based in the 11 countries
with gender diversity language in their corporate
governance codes do even better:
25.9% of the board seats in these companies are
held by women compared to 16% in those without such
The percentage of women executive officers does not parallel the
percentage of women board directors.
Only 12.6% of executive officer positions are held by
women, 5.8% lower than the percentage of women board
directors on the same companies.
Seven women hold CEO posts in the 168 retail/consumer product
companies in the study, 4.2% of the companies, three
additional companies have women Board Chairs.
Companies with women CEOs or Board
Chairs have almost double the percentage of women on
boards than the survey average – 35.8% to 18.4% -- and
more than double the percentage of women executive
officers – 32% to 12.6%.
By and large, retail and consumer product companies are among the
pacesetters in their respective countries.
UK retail and consumer product companies, for
instance, average 23.4% women board directors – 6.1%
higher than the FTSE 100 average.
Canada, the US, and Japan’s retail companies also
outperform their country average significantly.
In France, where a quota has introduced higher
percentages of women onto more company boards, there is
little difference between retail companies and the
Larger and mid-sized companies do much better in placing women on
boards than smaller companies.
The 101 large-cap companies in the report average
19.6% women board directors and the 51 mid-cap companies
The 16 small-cap
companies in the study (including well-known brands in
the US, such as Rite-Aid, Barnes and Noble and
Supervalu) average only 9.4% women board directors.
No industry has a higher percentage of
companies with women board directors than the retail and
consumer products industry (79.8%).
Healthcare places second with 72.3% of its companies
having at least one woman director on its 100 largest
companies, followed by financial services (67.8%) and
Consumer product companies hold an edge over retail companies in
placing women on boards.
22.1% of board seats in consumer product
companies are held by women, while women occupy 16.2% of
board seats in retail companies.
industry, “household and personal product companies”
(27.3%) and “textiles, apparel, and luxury goods”
(23.7%) companies do the best in placing women on
At the opposite end, “food and staples retailers”
average just 13.6% of women board directors.