In June 2017, the U.S. 30% Club gathered to celebrate our third anniversary, recognizing individual members like Brian Moynihan for supporting and appointing female directors; and emphasizing the kind of incremental—yet, ultimately transformative—change driven by committed leaders.
Delivering opening remarks at the U.S. 30% Club’s Fourth Anniversary event on June 7th, 2018, Founding Chairman Peter T. Grauer addressed that transformative power, announcing that our public company members have achieved an average of 30% female representation in the boardroom.
It’s an incredible milestone, and a testament to the principles the 30% Club was founded on: A shared understanding that better gender equality at the board level encourages better governance and ultimately, stronger corporate performance for companies and their shareholders. And, that our members—CEOs and Chairs with a direct influence in the boardroom—can foster meaningful, sustainable change when they are committed to dismantling the status quo.
As members of the 30% Club, these CEOs and Chairs are committed to developing and promoting female talent within their own organizations: Panelist Bill McNabb, Chairman of Vanguard, added two women to Vanguard’s board last year. They’re also contributing directly to the pool of boardroom talent by sponsoring highly-qualified senior leaders for the 30% Club’s Future Female Directors program. Since the program launched, 9 participants have been appointed to serve on their first public company board. We hope our new partnership with theBoardlist will help that number continue to grow. theBoardlist’s curated platform connects highly-qualified female leaders – including our Future Female Directors—with opportunities to serve on private and public company boards.
An enormous amount of work lies ahead of us, but these efforts, alongside many others, are moving the needle—and momentum around the issue is building. At Bloomberg, client demand for standardized data in the gender equality space continues to grow. And as investors direct increasing levels of capital towards companies with a demonstrated commitment to social issues, indices like Bloomberg’s Gender Equality Index offer the kind of information and transparency asset managers are demanding.
The Fourth Anniversary event panel, moderated by Kiersten Barnet, GEI Manager and Chair of the U.S. 30% Club’s Steering Committee, focused on that growing demand. As Barnet noted in her introduction, 2017 marked a turning point in the investment community, as the U.S.’s three largest asset managers — all led by members of the U.S. 30% Club — publicly challenged companies with shareholder proposals to add more women and diverse directors to their boardrooms.
Panelists Bill McNabb, Ron O’Hanley, President and COO of State Street, and Helena Morrissey, founder of the 30% Club and Head of Personal Investing at Legal & General, discussed the leading role asset managers can play in the journey towards gender equality in the boardroom. All three stressed the importance of strong, diverse boards for the long-term growth and health of a company.
Fearless Girl and similar campaigns underscore that belief, signaling to the wider investment community that diversity and inclusion is critical for responsible and competitive corporate governance. As we celebrate our 30% milestone, their willingness to put such a public stake in the ground is challenging companies around the country to diversify their boardrooms, bringing us one step closer to our namesake goal.