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Wisconsin beats the nation for women on boards of directors

Wisconsin corporations on the Russell 3000 index are above the national average when it comes to gender diversity on their boards of directors, according to the latest Gender Diversity Index published by 2020 Women on Boards.

Women now hold 21.7 percent of the board seats at these 45 corporations, just above the national average of 20.4 percent. Wisconsin companies have been above the national average for three consecutive years.

While there still is plenty of room for improvement, Wisconsin companies have steadily added women corporate directors to their boards since 2018, when women held 19.7 percent of board seats in the state, up from 17.5 percent in 2017. As of June 30, 2019, women directors at Wisconsin companies held 96 of 443 board seats.

At companies on both the 2018 and 2019 Russell 3000 lists, women corporate directors gained a total of 14 seats between July 2018 and June 2019, five more seats than women gained during the same period the previous year.

For the past decade, the 2020 Women on Boards organization has been advocating for a standard of 20 percent women on boards by the year 2020, and now it will evolve to seeking gender balance on boards, according to Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire, CEO of 2020WOB.

Two Wisconsin companies, Alliant Energy Corp. and ManpowerGroup Inc., already have achieved gender balance, defined as an equal number of men and women corporate directors or a difference of one more woman or man in the case of boards with an odd number of directors.

Stephanie Sonnabend, co-founder and chair of 2020WOB, notes that Wisconsin ranks seventh out of 26 states with at least 20 Russell 3000 companies, and that more than half of the Wisconsin-based companies are at 20 percent or greater women directors. Fifteen Wisconsin companies have three or more women on their boards.

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