State Street, the firm that put up a statue of a young girl facing down Wall Street's bull to call attention to the importance of female leadership, has three women on its 11-person board of directors and five women on its 28-member leadership team.
When contacted for comment, State Street spokeswoman Anne McNally offered up the following statistics: Within the
The needle isn't moving as fast as it should for gender diversity.
State Street chose International Women's Day to put up the bronze statue and call on the more than 3,500 companies in which it invests to increase the number of women on their boards. (Those companies control $30 trillion in funds—yes, you read that right.)
Last year, they launched a gender diversity index called SHE that helps investors find companies with strong female leadership on their boards. The asset manager also contributed $50,000 to Girls Who Invest, a non-profit focused on bringing more women into the finance community.
When asked why State Street is taking these actions now, McNally said, "because the needle isn't moving as fast as it should for gender diversity."
State Street's three women, who make up 27 percent of the board seats, put the company ahead of the national Fortune 500 numbers. In 2016, 21 percent of Fortune 500 corporate board positions were occupied by women, up from 19.6 percent in 2015. Fortune found that last year 24 of those companies had boards without
"A lot of companies talk about gender diversity—look no further than 'insert company name X's' Twitter handle today on National Women's Day—but as the world's third-largest asset manager we wanted to do
Susan Colantuono, the CEO of Leading Women, a consulting firm focused on advancing women and closing the leadership gender gap in the workplace, said that while three women on a board may seem like a tiny number (and it is) it's actually an important minimum for these companies to hit. "Research shows that if you have one woman on a management team or board, she's
"Three is pretty good for the U.S., where we don't have quotas like in Europe," Colantuono said.
Across the Atlantic, Norway was the first country to put quotas in place, in 2003, to require that public companies fill at least 40 percent of their board seats with women. Iceland, Spain, and France followed with the same 40-percent requirement, Quartz reports, and Germany added a 30-percent quota in 2015.
Hashtags and Instagrams are nice, but they're not a worthy substitute to the hard work that still needs to be done.
The new rules are working. Last year in the European Union, women accounted for 21.2 percent of board seats on the largest publicly traded companies. That's up from 11.9 percent in
While women have been getting the majority of college degrees in America for a few years, the gap between men and women at the top corporate roles is still a canyon. And as State Street itself points out, that's not good business. They quote a study from MSCI, an
Here's hoping State Street's efforts add up to more than just a statue on Bowling Green Plaza. Hashtags and Instagrams are nice, but they're not a worthy substitute