For the 10th year, the UC Davis Graduate School of Management in partnership with Watermark has published the 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 $4.5 trillion, up more than 30 percent over last year. Put in perspective, the combined market capitalization of these publicly traded Golden State firms is approximately three and a half times the annual GDP of 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.
Key Findings of 2014–2015 Study
There has been some incremental improvement in the gender diversity of the upper echelons of decision makers at the largest public companies in California.
Overall, women hold just 11.5 percent of board seats and highest-paid executive positions—a 0.6% increase over last year.
One quarter—101 (25.3 percent)—of our California 400 have no women among their directors and highest-paid executives. This has improved marginally from 107 (26.8 percent) companies last year.
Of the 3,340 board director seats, women hold 403 (12.4%) and men hold 2,837 (87.6 percent). A linear projection of the current rate would predict women holding 19.9 percent of California director positions in 2020 and 44.8 percent in 2040.
Among the 1,868 highest-paid executives, 185 (9.9 percent) are women and 1,683 (90.1 percent) are men. Only 14 of the 400 companies have a woman serving as CEO; 50 have a woman CFO.
No company has an all-female board and management team. Two companies have gender-balanced leadership teams (50 percent women).
Bay Area companies have 13.1 percent women directors and 10.8 percent women highest-paid executives. Southern California companies have 11.5 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively.
Among counties with at least 20 companies, San Francisco has the most women board directors (17 percent), and Los Angeles has the fewest (10.7 percent). San Mateo has the most highest-paid women executives (16.3 percent), and Los Angeles has the fewest (7.7 percent).
Our results highlight the need for greater participation of women on corporate boards and in the executive suites, and to help create these opportunities. To improve the standing of women in business leadership positions, the Graduate School of Management has a strong partnership with Watermark, a nonprofit organization that offers several pioneering programs to increase the number of women in executive and board roles, and support them in those roles.
UC Davis Database
As a public institution, UC Davis strives to provide information freely and transparently to the public. As such, we are making public the raw data that were used in our 2014-2015 UC Davis Study of California Women Business Leaders, so that they might be used by other researchers hoping to advance this topic.
Amanda Kimball is a research specialist collaborating on faculty research projects. She authors the School’s annual “UC Davis Study of California Women Business Leaders.” Kimball spent time in a PhD program for Economics at UC Davis, where she earned her masters degree in 2003, with concentrations in Microeconomic Theory and Industrial Organization. She has a background in business and economics including having worked for Capital One, the Investment Company Institute, and the Corporate Executive Board.
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