Since 2005, the Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Davis, in partnership with Watermark, has conducted an annual study of women business leaders in California's 400 largest public companies. Watermark and UC Davis release the results annually providing a forum to advocate for change. This study provided research and data that led to the passage of Senate Concurrent Resolution 62 in August 2013, making California the first state in the U.S. to urge public companies to add more women to their corporate boards.
“Resolved by the Senate of the State of California, the Assembly thereof concurring, that the Legislature acknowledges that the body of evidence to date concludes that companies perform better when their boards and executive leadership include women, and that the State of California has a significant stake in both protecting the shareholders of publicly traded companies, as well as setting policies that enable them to perform better.”
— California State Concurrent Resolution 62, approved by both Senate (Aug. 26,2013) and Assembly (September 12, 2013), prompted by the Watermark-UC Davis Study of California Women Business Leaders
Key findings from the 2014-2015 study include:
- Overall, women hold just 12.3 percent of board seats and highest-paid executive positions—an incremental 0.75 percentage point increase over last year.
- The number of companies with no women in director and highest-paid executive positions dropped to 92, a new low. This number has dropped by one-third over the last five years, showing more women are being appointed to existing or new board seats and executive positions.
- The percentage of women directors in California has risen steadily from 8.8 percent in 2006 to a high of 13.3 percent in 2015.
- San Francisco Bay Area companies have 14.5 percent women directors and 10.9 percent women among their highest-paid executives. Southern California companies have 11.7 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively.
- Not a single company has an all-female board or management team. Only two companies, Williams-Sonoma Inc. and LTC Properties Inc., have at least as many women as men among their directors and highest-paid executives.
- The 17 female CEOs represent only 4.3 percent of the 400 CEO positions.