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Women Are Being Added to Boards at a Record Pace—But the Most Powerful Seats Are Still Reserved for Men

There’s an uptick of female representation nearly everywhere we look these days.

A record number of women are running for office this year. Procter & Gamble (PG), the world’s largest advertiser, is working on having 50% of its ads directed by women in the next five years. And now data shows that women are making their way into more and more boardrooms across the U.S.

Today, women comprise 31% of new board directors in the 3,000 largest publicly traded companies across the U.S.,reports The Wall Street Journal, citing data from ISS Analytics. The 248 women added to boards in the first five months of the year represent the highest female percentage in at least ten years, the WSJ says, meaning that 2018 could end as a record year.

The WSJ points to the effects of #MeToo as one of the motivations for this increase in female representation—some women are being nominated for these roles in the aftermath of a sexual harassment scandal, or to avoid one from taking place. There have also been several published studies that suggest a correlation between diversity and profit, giving a financial bent to the change.

But it’s not all good news. While women occupy 18% of board seats overall among these 3,000 companies, they have not seen the same increase in leadership roles. Only 10% of lead independent directors are women, and just 4% of boards are chaired by a woman. Women representation may have increased overall, but not in areas where they could have the biggest impact.