When Kathy Higgins Victor first joined the board of directors at Best Buy in 1999, she was the only woman in the room. Twenty years later, Victor is no longer the lone woman in Best Buy’s boardroom—she’s also part of the majority.
After new CEO Corie Barry was elected to Best Buy’s board in June, the retailer became one of six companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index where women make up the majority of board members, according to The Washington Post.
Though few boards have reached the same numbers, and the rate of change is still slow—Victor calls it a “glacial pace”—the percentage of women on boards has begun a steady march upward in recent years.
The issue has grabbed the attention of investors, the media and lawmakers: The House Financial Services Committee even held a hearing last month about gender and racial diversity on boards.
After being stuck at 16% for several years, the percentage of women-held board seats in the S&P 500 now reaches nearly 27% according to data from ISS Analytics, the data arm of the proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services.
Perhaps most notable is that all-male boards among S&P 500 companies have become a nearly extinct species. In 2009, there were 56 firms in the S&P 500 that did not include any women. As of June 28, there was one.
Copart, an online vehicle auction company based in Dallas, has the final all-male board in the S&P 500, according to ISS Analytics. But it has said it intends to fill a board vacancy with a “highly qualified, accomplished woman this year.” Read the full story.