North Carolina companies are putting more women on their boards, but female representation still lags the rest of the country, according to a new report from a group that tracks the issue.
Such findings will be the focus of a Thursday event at the Mint Museum Uptown from 5 to 7 p.m. hosted by 2020 Women on Boards, a nonprofit formed in Boston in 2010 to increase women board participation. Charlotte is among 18 cities in the U.S. and worldwide where Women on Boards will hold a “national conversation on board diversity” that same day, the fifth year in a row for the events.
“We believe the event is critical in driving awareness, knowledge and fostering dialogue on this important topic,” Jennifer Winstel, a Merrill Lynch financial adviser who heads Women on Boards’ Charlotte chapter, said.
In North Carolina, women hold 18.8 percent of board seats, according to this year’s Women on Boards’ analysis of 19 Fortune 1000 companies in the state. That’s up from 16.6 percent in 2015 but still below the 19.7 percent national average.
In 2015, North Carolina was also below a national average of 18.8 percent.
Panelists scheduled for Thursday include Minor Shaw, a former board director for Charlotte’s Piedmont Natural Gas, which was purchased last month by Charlotte-based Duke Energy. The panel will also include Jewell Hoover, a former U.S. Treasury Department official and bank regulator, who currently serves on the boards of Foundation for the Carolinas and Fifth Third Bank, among other boards.
Women on Boards says there has been consistent, steady growth nationally toward its goal for female representation on company boards to reach 20 percent or more by the year 2020. According to the campaign, companies of all sizes, in all sectors and in all geographic locations are adding women to their boards.
“But there is still much work to do,” it says in the 2016 report. For example, an analysis of 41 companies shows they have had no women directors over the past five years.
“There are still companies, especially the smaller and newer ones, that have not embraced the idea that boardroom diversity is good for business,” the report says.