Women have made the most gains when it comes to board diversity, representing 46% of new directors among S&P 500 companies, compared with 26% a decade ago. Motivated by the increased focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I), and new mandates, boards have moved quickly to bolster diversity and composition. According to the executive recruiting firm Spencer Stuart, 72% of new board members at S&P 500 companies come from underrepresented groups (i.e., women, underrepresented racial/ethnic groups and the LGBTQ+ community). The numbers tell us that market forces are aligning to support diversity in board governance. It’s a business imperative and this is a great time to bring about change.

Barriers to Board Diversity

Contrasting viewpoints foster increased board engagement and can help an organization stay nimble while improving board effectiveness. One of the biggest challenges to board diversity remains low turnover. Most board members are expected to be re-nominated, while the mandatory retirement age is 75. The average age of board members among publicly traded companies is 64.

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