Our strength and impact comes from people both in the public and private sectors, working together for the first time, to advance boardroom diversity.
The Coalition conceives and implements collaborative strategies through three principal groups:
– Institutional Investors
– Corporate Leaders
– Public Sector Initiatives
The Institutional Investors continue to have a significant impact. The group has brought together mutual, pension, and health funds representing more than $3 trillion in assets under management, along with a significant number of women’s groups across the US, to engage with companies in the S&P 500 and Russell 1000 who previously had no women on their boards. In addition, Coalition members have urged companies with inadequate racial diversity on its board to add people of color. In October 2016, the Thirty Percent Coalition commended more than 115 companies that have added a woman to their board of directors following the Coalition’s Institutional Investor landmark initiative, “Adopt a Company Campaign”.
The Corporate Leaders committee supports other corporate leaders in exercising influence with their peers. For example, the Champions of Change represent an independent group, supported by the Coalition, who have the credibility and access to influence their peers in boardrooms to further gender diversity. The Champions of Change membership continues to grow and now represents more than 20 Champions. The committee has also assembled a group of Chief Legal Officers and other attorneys specializing in corporate governance. A “thought piece” has been widely publicized on the role chief legal officers can play in achieving gender diverse boardrooms. Discussions are underway with Chief Diversity Officers to begin a similar initiative. Lastly, companies that have been successful in adding women to their boards are the subject of several case studies to educate others.
The Public Sector Initiatives committee continues to explore, and implement when possible, ways in which the Coalition can engage public officials. This work is oriented to the federal, state and local levels for effecting change. Communication continues with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) to support the Chair’s recognition that diversity disclosure rules need to be updated in order to provide more meaningful information. Collaboration also continues with member organizations supporting initiatives in a number of state legislatures considering board gender diversity resolutions.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Thirty Percent Coalition
The Thirty Percent Coalition is a unique and groundbreaking national organization of more than 80 members committed to the goal of women, including women of color, holding 30% of board seats across public companies.
Our vision is corporate boardrooms that reflect the gender, racial and ethnic diversity of the United States workforce.
The Coalition, founded in late 2011 by a broad range of leaders and organizations, believes that by working together members can reinforce their own efforts and have greater power to change the composition of the boardroom. The Coalition includes public and private companies, private equity firms, institutional investors, professional service firms, advocacy and nonprofit organizations, government officials, and individual leaders for the first time working together to drive the pace of change. All member organizations are represented by someone who is committed to gender diverse boards and is in a position to speak on behalf of the organization. Among our members are: companies and professional firms that have taken leadership in advancing workplace diversity; organizations who have spent years supporting women's leadership; nonprofits committed to improved corporate governance; institutional investors, including public officials, who are concerned about the governance of companies whose stock they hold; and individuals who have track records of leadership in gender diversity. Our membership has more than tripled since we began and continues to grow.
In 2011, twenty-seven industry leaders, including senior business executives, national women's organizations, institutional investors, corporate governance experts and board members gathered for a high-level Summit to address the lack of gender diversity in corporate boardrooms. The Thirty Percent Coalition was formed, prompted by what participants called “glacial progress” on increasing the number of women on U.S. corporate boards – a number which had essentially remained stagnant over the previous five years .
First and foremost, members join because they believe that increasing the representation of women on corporate boards is an essential part of good business strategy and represents best practices that have been demonstrated to correlate with bottom-line benefits and improved governance.
They believe board gender diversity is critical to maintaining the competitiveness of U.S. companies on a global stage.
They also believe that there is an adequate supply of women ready to assume a role in the corporate boardroom and that we have to act to open the door for the many talented women who are qualified to be corporate board directors
The benefits of membership include:
- Recognition of your commitment to gender diversity by many different audiences
- Networking to share best practices and tap varied resources
- Opportunity to work collaboratively
- Advocacy that amplifies your voice
Though there are many organizations working on corporate governance and/or women's leadership, including board diversity, the Thirty Percent Coalition is unique in its focus, structure, and ability to engage a cross-section of those who care about our issue.
We are focused on board gender diversity and, in particular, on the demand side of board diversity – influencing corporations to strengthen their efforts to increase the number of women on their boards. We believe that, without a demand by corporations for appointing women, change will not occur. Others, including many of our members, are working on the supply side – helping to prepare women for board service and on related initiatives to increase the number of women in the executive suite. We do not seek to duplicate the work of our members.
We are a true collaboration, using the collective clout of our members and leveraging the power of our diverse membership to work on significant joint initiatives.
We also reinforce and support the important work being done by Coalition members individually. A large number of the leading women's and nonprofit organizations concerned with gender diversity on boards are our members.
here is no other organization of this kind in the United States.
We are not supporting a quota and don't think that is the answer for the United States. Our focus is to improve the gender diversity in U.S. boardrooms so that women are well represented in every boardroom. We believe that change is not happening fast enough.
When the Coalition formed in late 2011, it set a goal of 30% women across public company boards so progress could be measured. The Coalition hoped to approximately double the percentage of women serving on boards from what was then approximately 15-16% of combined major public company board members.
The Coalition does not advocate for a quota for individual companies.
Annual Membership contributions support our programs but some members contribute at sponsor levels beyond the membership dues.
The different categories of membership are:
|Corporate Partners||Professional Service Firms|
|Institutional Investors||Government Officials|
|Advocacy & Non-Profits||Individual members|
There are no “formal” commitments beyond the annual membership contribution. However, we encourage engagement through participation on one of our working committees and through attendance at our annual Summit and an additional meeting to share best practices.
The Coalition employs three major strategies for exerting power and influence that are compatible with U.S. preferences and practices. Three committees each pursue one of those strategies and have seen important results.
The Institutional Investors Committee has communicated with companies with no women directors and worked collaboratively with many of them to make changes to corporate governance charters and to make enhanced efforts to recruit women directors. As of October, 2016, more than 100 of the targeted companies have elected women to their boards.
The Public Sector Initiatives Committee is working with key Coalition members and other public officials to support passage of state, city, and federal resolutions encouraging diverse gender representation on corporate boards. A second strategy seeks legislation that requires bidders for public contracts to disclose board diversity data and report on plans for improvement. The Committee also communicates with the SEC in support of improved disclosure requirements.
The Corporate Leaders Committee is mobilizing business leaders to use their influence by publicly advocating for change and privately talking with their peers. Champions of Change (CEOs, Board Chairs, Lead Directors and Chairs and members of nominating committees) have developed a Charter that gives a roadmap for other corporate leaders to follow. The Committee is also mobilizing key corporate executives such as chief diversity and chief legal officers, who can influence not only their own boards but also their peers in other companies.
The Coalition is a 501(c)3 corporation, governed by a board elected from the membership. An Executive Director works closely with the board and committees that carry out the Coalition's work.