Blog Feature

Gender Balance in the California 400: A Breakdown of the 2013 Census
By Amanda Kimball

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Amanda Kimball is a research specialist collaborating on faculty research projects at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management. She authors the School’s annual “UC Davis Study of California Women Business Leaders.”

For the ninth year, the Graduate School of Management has published the annual UC Davis Study of California Women Business Leaders: A Census of Women Directors and Executive Officers. 

The study is an annual benchmark for gender diversity in the C-suites and boardrooms of the 400 largest public companies headquartered in California. Our goal is to drive awareness among corporations, business leaders and policy makers to take meaningful action toward greater female representation.

This study is the only one of its kind to focus on gender in the boardrooms and executive suites of corporate California. Our “California 400”—including many global brand powerhouses such as Apple, Chevron, Intel, Visa, Google, Hewlett-Packard and Oracle—taken together tally a total stock market value of $3.42 trillion. Put in perspective, the combined market capitalization of these publicly traded Golden State firms is almost three times the annual GDP of neighboring Mexico.

The study also highlights California’s Top 25 companies with the highest percentage of women leaders, applauding their leadership and advising others to follow their example.

“We challenge the business community in California—and the country—to improve on its past and forge a path toward greater diversity in top leadership across gender, ethnicity and experiences.”

— Dean Steven Currall, UC Davis Graduate School of Management

This year’s study finds that there has been some incremental improvement in the gender diversity of the upper echelons of decision makers at the largest public companies in California. These are several key findings of the 2013–2014 census:

  • Overall, women hold just 10.9% of board seats and highest-paid executive positions—a 1% increase compared to last year.
  • More than a quarter—107 (26.8%)—of our California 400 have no women among their directors and highest-paid executives. This has improved from 127 companies (32%) last year.
  • For the first time since 2006, more companies in our study have one woman (33.5%) than have no women (26.8%).
  • For the first time in our study, two companies have a female majority (54.5%) among their directors and highest-paid executives. 

In today’s global marketplace, where diverse backgrounds, skills and experience are critical for strategic and operational decisions, having more women involved at the highest levels of business management and corporate governance is associated with more profitable and well-managed corporations. We are dedicated to helping make that a reality.

To learn more about Custom Executive Education Programs at UC Davis, contact Managing Director of Executive Education, Wendy Beecham.

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