Research by Katherine Barner, Tonya Russell and Heather Grossmann
The analysis below is based on the filings of U.S. companies that went public on a major U.S. stock exchange in the first half of 2020 (January – June 2020). Only the top 25 companies by valuation as of July 31 were included. Special purpose acquisition corporations were excluded. Changes to the director and executive counts after a company went public are not reflected. Read the full methodology here.
- Three companies had zero female directors; the overwhelming majority of them (20) did not have any BIPOC woman directors
- 86 percent of the women directors appointed were white
- Average percentage of board seats held by women: 17.7% (35)
- Average percentage of board seats held by BIPOC women: 2.6% (5)
- Six companies had zero female top executives; 22 of them did not have any BIPOC woman executives
- Average percentage of female executives: 19.8% (30)
- Average percentage of BIPOC female executives: 2.6% (4)
- There was just one female CEO among the 25 biggest IPOs of the first half of 2020
- Board statistics are a reflection of not just the companies themselves (and their respective industries) but also of the lack of diversity at VC funds and among institutional investors, since many of these board seats are reserved for such entities.
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Methodology: This analysis is based on the filings of U.S. companies that went public on a major U.S. stock exchange in the first half of 2020 (January – June 2020). Only the top 25 companies by valuation as of July 31 were included. Special purpose acquisition corporations were excluded. Gender was determined by the pronouns used in the filings. Three people independently researched the number of female executives and directors at each company listed to establish who presented as non-white versus white based on available text and photos. This methodology was reviewed with experts in diversity and inclusion. We realize this is an imperfect science: As the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism noted in a recent report, “race and racial discrimination work in complex ways not always tied to skin colour … But white/non-white capture some important aspects of this… We therefore deploy a simple and reductionist, but hopefully still illuminating and relevant, binary.” Each company named was contact by phone and email for confirmation of what our research showed; only about one-fifth of companies responded. Note that “key employees” — as distinguished from “executives” — were not included in the totals. The director and executive counts do not reflect any personnel changes made after the IPO. Please email email@example.com with any questions or comments.
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