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It Will Take 30 Years for Boards to Reach Gender Parity: The Broadsheet

October 30, 2019, 12:15 PM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! All state abortion restrictions were blocked by courts, female MPs show support for Meghan Markle, and we’ve got a long time until boardroom gender parity is a reality. Have a wonderful Wednesday. 


- Three decades til parity. At least 30 years. That's how long it will take for boards of directors to achieve gender parity globally if the current rate of progress continues. Deloitte published that take-away, and tons others, in its 260-page Women in the Boardroom report this morning

Worldwide, women held 16.9% of board seats globally last year, a 1.9% increase since the last time data was collected in 2016. Beneath that top-line figure are some interesting country-by-country trends. In the U.S., for instance, 17.6% of board seats were held by women in 2018, up from 14.2%. In Canada, women's current share of board seats was 21.4%, up 3.7 percentage points from two years earlier.

The report mentions an always controversial topic: boardroom gender quotas. The mechanisms seem to be behind some of the stand-out performers in terms of women's share of directorships. No. 1 Norway, No. 2 France, and No. 6 Belgium all have gender quotas and have reached 40.1%, 37.2%, and 30.5% female representation on boards, respectively. At the same time, the report says the quota approach is not necessarily required to make progress. No. 3 Sweden (33.3%), No. 4 Finland (31.9%), and No. 5 New Zealand (31.5%) have reached the top tier without quotas. Instead, they've sought to address diversity efforts through "self-regulation and/or corporate governance code recommendations," Deloitte says. 

The report cites a few factors keeping women off boards: outdated workplace cultures, unconscious bias, and lack of sponsorship. What's more, women hold 4.4% of CEO positions and 12.7% of CFO roles globally. Those figures are abysmal in and of themselves, but they also perpetuate the lack of women in boardrooms since board members are so often recruited from the executive level.  

You can read the full report here.

Claire Zillman


- Slow going. More big picture stats—in this case, on women in finance. In 15 years, the share of women in senior finance roles in the U.K. has barely budged, a regulator found. The number is around 17%, the same as in 2005. Bigger banks, which have faced more scrutiny, are doing slightly better. Also in the U.K., the gender pay gap shrank to 17.3% this year, a record low. Times of London

- Show of support. More than 70 female members of the U.K. Parliament from different parties signed an open letter condemning the British media's treatment of Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex. The MPs call out "outdated, colonial undertones" in coverage of Meghan and draw on their own experience in public life: "We share an understanding of the abuse and intimidation which is now so often used as a means of disparaging women in public office from getting on with our very important work." Guardian

- More than monthly. Stitch Fix sells clothing and accessories to 3.2 million customers via their subscription "fixes." Now the company, led by founder and CEO Katrina Lake, wants customers to shop via Stitch Fix even when they're in between monthly shipments. To do that, Stitch Fix is relying on big data. Fortune

- Checks and balances. A federal judge in Alabama blocked the state's near-total abortion ban yesterday. The decision—which holds until the court resolves in full the case challenging the ban—means that all of the controversial state laws passed this year in an attempt to restrict early-stage abortion have been blocked by the courts. CNN

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Walmart replaced Jenny Fleiss as head of Jetblack, its personal-shopping service; Fleiss will now serve in an advisory role reporting to Walmart chief customer officer Janey Whiteside. In an executive shakeup at Juul, chief administrative officer Ashley Gould left the company. Fundbox hired Medrio's Leslie Olsen as CMO and Capco's Allison Wirth as chief compliance officer. Kroger vet Jill McIntosh joins the board of directors at Whisps. LinkedIn CMO Shannon Brayton joins the board of Relativity. Topgolf's Nickole Raymond Tara joins AEG Global Partnerships as SVP, global portfolio. OneLogin hires Dayna Rothman as CMO. The Center for Reproductive Rights introduced a Creative Council chaired by Elizabeth Banks


- Next chapter. The Cut profiles Chelsea Clinton, who "still struggles" to talk about her mother's loss of the 2016 election, and now is tasked with figuring out what she wants in the next half of her life, with her parents' political careers no longer the driving force. The Cut

- Courting Canadians. Hudson's Bay Co., the 350-year-old Canadian department store chain, has fallen out of favor with many of the country's consumers in recent years. Fortune's Phil Wahba explains how Helena Foulkes, the CEO of its parent company HBC, is working to restore the chain's luster. Fortune

- Hidden women? Inside a Women for Trump event, daughter-in-law Lara Trump and Second Lady Karen Pence encouraged women to show their support for the president as he seeks reelection. The campaign is trying to reach the "hidden" female Trump voter, who may not be vocal about her support but can be motivated to vote. New York Times

- Rest in peace. Kay Hagan, the former North Carolina senator and NationsBank executive, died at 66 on Monday. She contracted a rare virus in 2016 and died from complications from the disease. Hagan is remembered for her work to limit payday lending, her role on a Congressional panel interrogating infant deaths at Fort Bragg, and as being "unafraid to fight." Fortune 

Today's Broadsheet was produced by Emma Hinchliffe. Share it with a friend. Looking for previous Broadsheets? Click here.


Katie Hill could finally bring pending revenge porn bill in Congress to a vote Fortune

12 men share their abortion stories GQ

Tiny beetle named after climate activist Greta Thunberg Guardian


"I can pull rank. It’s the license to be powerful."

-Helena Bonham Carter on playing Princess Margaret on The Crown