The research uncovered that nearly one-third of companies globally have no women in either board or C-suite positions, 60% have no female board members, 50% have no female top executives, and less than 5% have a female CEO. Yet, the positive correlation between women in C-level ranks and the bottom line is demonstrated repeatedly, and magnitude of the estimated effects is substantial. Although the study found that there is no statistically observable impact of having a female CEO on organizational profitability, and the impact of women's presence on the board is not statistically robust, the importance of having female management and presumably a pipeline of female future leaders is both robust and positive.
* Variations by country: The Peterson/EY research demonstrates that while no country has reached gender parity, there is substantial international variation in women's representation. National averages for women's participation on boards range from 4% in the case of Mexico to roughly 40% in Norway.
* Variations by sector: The research reveals differences across industry sectors, with the financial, healthcare, utility and telecommunications sectors exhibiting the highest rates of female executive and board representation, ranging from 16-18% for women executives and 12-14% for women directors. Basic materials, technology, energy and industrials are the sectors exhibiting the lowest representation of women in top positions, ranging from 10-12% for women executives and 8-10% for women directors.
* Quotas for women directors: The impact of quotas for women directors, instituted in some countries, sparked some concerns that forcing change could have a negative impact on corporate performance, perhaps due to a scarcity of qualified women to serve on boards. The analysis indicates that women who sit on multiple boards are no more prevalent than men. Thirteen percent of male directors sit on two boards, compared with 12% of women directors. Three percent of each gender sits on three boards. More importantly, there is no support for the idea that such quotas reduce corporate performance.