The number of women serving on corporate boards in Maryland-headquartered companies is on the rise.
The number of female board directors increased a full percentage point in 2011 from the previous year, according to a study by nonprofit membership organization Network 2000
. The Baltimore organization promotes the advancement of women in exective positions.
Women accounted for 10.2 percent of corporate board members in 84 companies last year. To qualify, a company must be headquartered in Maryland and be publicly traded on one of the three major exchanges.
The 2011 figure was the highest since Network 2000 began its annual census in 2005. It is the only such tally in the state.
Network 2000 is a private, membership-based organization whose mission is to encourage the advancement of women in professional and executive positions.
The census is not broken down by industries. But Ellen Fish, president of Network 2000 and executive vice president of CFG Community Bank, says that in prior censuses, professional science-oriented companies tended not to have many female members. “That had a negative effect” on the figures, she says.
The census found that of Maryland’s five Fortune 500 companies, all had at least one female board member, for a figure of 18.4 percent. In a national census of 1,400 Fortune 500 companies, 16.7 percent had female board directors.
The report also found that 42 percent of the qualifying companies had no women on their boards. The number of women of color holding board seats remained the same from the previous census, at less that two percent.
“The census helps us accomplish our mission,” says Fish. “It allows us to raise the awareness issue in talks and programs.”
Source: Ellen Fish, Network 2000
Writer: Barbara Pash