Why can't Fortune 500 companies commit to women? Fortune 500 #15, Verizon Communications, appointed the CEO of Walgreens, to its Board of Directors. This is just one more of the Fortune 500 companies who have put men on their boards recently. AT&T, ranked #11, appointed the retired CEO of Humana Inc to its Board. Air Products, ranked #265, appointed the Chairman of Kiina Investment to its Board. Exelon, #145, appointed a former Vice Chair of Ernst & Young, to its Board. GM, ranked #5, appointed retired Admiral Michael Mullen to its Board. And let's not forget 3M, ranked #102, who appointed the Chairman of CocaCola to its Board. All of these companies do have women directors, but for us to move past the stall at 16% of directors being women, we need all companies to commit to putting more women on their boards. If every Fortune 500 company would add a woman as their next director, we would definitely move the needle.
The 16% of directors being women generally reflects the status quo of two women (with an average board of 12 directors) on a board which has become accepted as enough. When women make up 50% or more of the population and the majority of the workforce and consumers, two women on a board is not enough. Verizon, GM and Air Products all have more than 2 women directors and congratulations to them for that. But we must work towards 40% of all directors being women. 16% is not enough. Fortune 500 companies should commit to making their next board appointment a woman. Send a tweet or an email to your fav fortune 500 company, the company whose products you use all the time, and tell them you want to see more women directors. More people and more passion on the problem will solve it!