Study Finds Significant Increase in Women’s Representation on Boards of U.S. Private Companies

Crunchbase, a company that provides data and insights on U.S. companies, has partnered with Him for Her, a talent network for thousands of board-ready women, to conduct their fifth annual study into the gender diversity of board members for private companies in the United States. The study has been conducted every year since 2019 when Laura Rivera, professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, co-authored the study’s first edition.

Over the past five years, women have made significant progress in their representation on the boards of United States private companies. Through an analysis of 735 private companies that have raised at least $100 million, the study found that women held 17 percent of board seats in 2023, up from just 7 percent in 2019. Additionally, the percentage of companies without any women has decreased significantly from 60 percent in 2019 to 32 percent in 2023.

When specifically examining women of color’s board representation, the study found 5 percent of all board directors in 2023 were women of color, an increase from 3 percent in 2020. The results showed that 25 percent of all companies’ boards in the study’s sample included at least one woman of color, six percentage points more than in 2020.

Board members are typically investor director seats or executive director seats, but there are some who serve as independent directors. Women in the study’s sample were most likely to serve as independent directors, with women representing 29 percent of this subset of board member. Women made up 13 percent of investor seats and 10 percent of executive director seats. The companies in the sample whose first and only independent director was a woman, raised an additional 16 percent in funding than those whose first and only independent director was a man.

The study’s sample included companies from many different industries; 48 percent from the life science fields, 39 percent from non-health-related technology fields, and 13 percent in energy or other areas. The life science-based companies had the most diverse boards with 75 percent of those companies having at least one woman director, compared to 59 percent of technology companies.

The full report from Crunchbase can be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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