October 8, 2013

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Around Utah
Around Utah


(Not) In the Club

Why are Women Scarce on Utah’s Boards?

By Heather Stewart | Illustration by David Habben

October 8, 2013

“The sample size is smaller,” agrees Wistner. Nonetheless, she insists qualified women are plentiful. She advises executives to always have an eye out for qualified people who are not in their usual network. “Really have that in the back of your head,” she says.

Company leaders need to make an effort to reach out beyond their own network or industry. For example, Wistner suggests looking at nonprofits. That sector—both at the executive and the board levels—tends to attract passionate, qualified, experienced women.

Finding qualified women is “simply a matter of outreach,” says Tetro. “Do I think we have enough qualified women to serve on boards? The answer is yes.”

Indeed, the Women Tech Council has about 4,000 members, and Tetro estimates 60 percent of those are women. “The WTC shows the depth of experience in Utah,” she says. “It is literally the best place to go to network, recruit and learn from the top women in the tech industry.”

But what if the shoe is on the other foot? For accomplished, female executives, it can feel disheartening—to say the least—to be consistently overlooked by male peers. Tetro says women need to make their presence known.

“It requires effort on both sides,” she says.

Networking is crucial, as is getting involved in industry associations.

“It can be hard for women to put themselves out there,” says Tetro. “But there’s got to be an across-the-board agreement that women are an important component of the business community.”   

17% of the board seats for S&P 500 companies are filled by women
– Ernst & Young

8.4% of the board seats for companies on the Utah Business Top Public Companies list are filled by women

26% of the companies on the S&P 1500 have no women directors

 – Ernst & Young

Over a period of six years, net income growth averaged 14%  for companies with women directors compared to 10 percent for those with
no women directors
– The Credit Suisse Research Institute

Women on Utah Boards

Every year, Utah Business compiles a list of the state’s top public companies based on revenue. This year’s list, published in our August issue, contained 45 companies.
Of those:

25 have NO women directors
(55.5 percent)

17 have one woman director (37.7 percent)

3 have two or more women directors
(6.6 percent)





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