Percentage of women on Wisconsin corporate boards reaches all-time high

Milwaukee Women inc sets new goal

Women in Business panelists Julie Waterman, owner of Indulgence Chocolatiers; Kathy Thornton-Bias, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee; Maggie Fernandes, software developer with MacGregor Partners; and Deborah Allen, president and CEO of DNA Network LLC, with panel moderator Molly Dill, managing editor of BizTimes Media.

Last updated on October 17th, 2019 at 10:34 am

The percentage of board seats occupied by women at Wisconsin’s largest public companies has reached an all-time high, according to new research from Milwaukee Women inc.

According to the organization’s new research report, 20.8% of director seats on those companies’ boards are held by women, up from 18.9% in 2018 and surpassing Milwaukee Women inc’s initial goal of 20% by 2020.

The nonprofit group has produced research on board gender diversity of the 50 largest Wisconsin-based public companies since 2003.

Milwaukee Women inc’s new target is for women to occupy 25% of board seats at those companies by 2025.

“We achieved a significant milestone in 2019, with the percentage of women directors on the boards of the top 50 Wisconsin public companies reaching more than 20 percent,” said Lindsay Hammerer, partner at KPMG and chair of Milwaukee Women inc. “We applaud the directors and company leaders who added women to their boards over the past year. It is impressive that 15 of Wisconsin’s top 50 public companies now demonstrate the ‘Power of 3,’ with three or more women on their board.

Milwaukee Women Inc. also highlighted an increase in the number of companies with at least two women on their boards. Thirty-two of the Wisconsin 50 companies have two or more female board members, a 23% increase from 2018. Meanwhile, 30% of those companies have three or more female directors, a 25% increase from 2018.

Alliant Energy Corp. continues to top the list with the highest percentage of female directors (five of its 10 directors).

The percentage of women executives among Wisconsin’s largest public companies also continues to rise. Women now comprise 21.1% of executives, up from 18.9% in 2019. Among the 50 companies, 34% have three or more women executives, a 13% increase from 2018.

The report shows Wisconsin lagging in some areas. Among board seats of Wisconsin S&P 500 companies, 21.2% are held by women, compared to 26.7% of all U.S. S&P 500 companies. Among those same companies in Wisconsin, 19.8% of executive positions are held by women, compared to 26.5% of all US S&P 500 companies.

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Lauren Anderson
Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits, education and insurance for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism, history and African studies. In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time with family and friends and seeing live music wherever she can.