Women hold 19% of seats on Canadian corporate boards

StatsCan says women are more likely to be involved in smaller corporations

Statistics Canada has released data on the gender composition of corporate boards, providing the first comprehensive estimates across all types of corporations and showing that women accounted for 19.4 per cent of directors in 2016.

“Overall, the results of this analysis demonstrate that 28.0 per cent of corporations had one woman on their board of directors, 15.2 per cent had more than one woman, while 56.8 per cent of corporate boards of directors were composed entirely of men,” said the federal agency.

“Women were more likely to be on corporate boards with more than one director. They were most likely to be on boards with three or more directors (55.2 per cent), compared with 31.4 per cent for corporations with two board directors and 14.6 per cent of corporations with one director.”

StatsCan said government business enterprises had the highest share (28.8 per cent) of women on corporate boards in 2016, followed by public corporations (20.5 per cent). Private corporations had the lowest representation of women on boards of directors at 17.4 per cent.

“Women were more likely to be represented on corporate boards in service industries such as finance, management of companies and enterprises, etc. For example, women were most prevalent on corporate boards in the finance sector (22.5 per cent), followed by utilities (21.4 per cent) and management of companies and enterprises (20.1 per cent). Conversely, the lowest shares were in the construction sector (12.8 per cent) and manufacturing (14.4 per cent),” said Statistics Canada.

“Assets, which refer to all resources owned by corporations, are considered a good indicator of a corporation’s size. Women were most likely to hold board seats in the smallest corporations by assets (21.0 per cent), that is, corporations in the first asset quartile. This state of affairs partly reflects the industry composition of this size class, as almost two-thirds of women holding a board seat in this quartile held seats in the financial industries.

“Women held 19.9 per cent of board seats in the largest corporations or those in the fourth asset quartile. As the largest corporations tend to have a higher number of board members than smaller corporations, they are more likely to have female members.”

– Mario Toneguzzi

corporate boards

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