State Street Global Advisors Reports Fearless Girl’s Impact: More than 300 Companies Have Added Female Directors

State Street Global Advisors, the asset management business of State Street Corporation, today announced its latest impact figures for the Fearless Girl campaign, demonstrating continued progress for the firm’s gender diversity asset stewardship programs in the US, UK, Australia, Japan Canada and continental Europe.

Since the introduction of Fearless Girl in 2017, more than 300 companies identified by State Street Global Advisors responded to the firm’s call by adding a female director and another 28 have committed to do so. In the United States alone the campaign continues to build momentum as a total of 215 companies added a female director. This resulted in a decrease in the percentage of companies in the Russell 3000 Index1 without a female director from 24 percent at the end of 2016 to 16 percent at June 20182. During the 2017 proxy season State Street Global Advisors voted against 512 companies for failing to take action regarding their board gender diversity, and in the first half of 2018, through several country proxy voting seasons, voted against 581 companies.

“As stalwart practitioners and believers in the value of asset stewardship, we are proud to see the influence of Fearless Girl continue to grow,” said Rakhi Kumar, head of ESG Investments and Asset Stewardship for State Street Global Advisors. “Since her arrival, Fearless Girl has inspired companies and shareholders worldwide to focus on board diversity and join us in our call to action. We commend the companies that have already placed women on their boards in response to our outreach, and the others that have committed to doing so.”

In the last year State Street Global Advisors has expanded its engagement program around the world, rolling out initiatives in Japan, Canada, and Europe. Japan, in particular, has seen early momentum leading to 40 companies taking action and adding a female director as well as 11 more committing to doing so in the near future. In Canada almost a quarter, 23 percent, of companies are taking action by adding a female director and in Europe, 50 percent of companies identified have already added a female director.

“As the world’s third-largest asset manager, and one of the largest index managers, we are focused on providing our clients with long-term value and investing responsibly to help them achieve their financial goals,” said Cyrus Taraporevala, State Street Global Advisors president and chief executive officer. “Our commitment to asset stewardship exemplifies that focus as we firmly believe these issues should form part of an integrated investment approach.”

The firm also announced today an enhancement to its board gender diversity voting guideline designed to further encourage companies to diversify their boards. Starting in 2020 in the US, UK and Australian markets, and in 2021 in Japan, Canada and continental Europe, State Street Global Advisors will vote against the entire slate of board members on the nominating committee if a company does not have at least one woman on its board, and has not engaged in successful dialogue on State Street Global Advisors’ board gender diversity program for three consecutive years.

                   

Fearless Girl Impact – By the Numbers Worldwide:

                   
     

Companies identified
as not having a single
female board member

   

Number of companies
adding a female director

   

Number of companies
committing to add a
female director

Global     1,228     301     28
                   
Breakdowns by region                  
US     816     215     14
Japan     281     40     11
Canada     64     13     2
UK     12     7     0
Europe     10     5      
Australia*     45     21     1
                   

*Figures represent 2017 results as most Australian companies hold their 2018 annual meetings in the second half of the year.
Source: State Street Global Advisors

North America

  • The Board gender diversity campaign momentum continued in the US this year building on the strong program in 2017. This has resulted in a total of 816 companies being identified since the launch of the Fearless Girl campaign
  • Many of the Russell 3000 companies initially targeted in 2017 have since added at least one female director, driving the percentage of companies on the index without a female director to decrease from 24% in 2016 to 16% as of June 30, 20183
  • Since the launch, 215 US companies have added female directors to their boards, while an additional 14 have committed to making those additions in the near term
  • Canadian response to the campaign has also been strong, with 23% of identified companies adding a female director or committing to do so.

Asia Pacific

  • Japan stood out for early momentum as 18% of targeted companies added a female director, or pledged to do so.
  • Australian companies were similarly enthusiastic, with 49% of targeted companies adding women or committing to add women to their boards since the start of the campaign.

Europe

  • In the UK, State Street Global Advisors continued to monitor the remaining few companies on the FTSE 3504 that were lacking in board gender diversity. Of the 12 companies identified, seven have added their first woman to the board of directors since Fearless Girl’s original placement.
  • Elsewhere in Europe, since expanding the campaign to include the STOXX 6005, the company has identified just 10 companies without a female director—of those, five have subsequently added their first female board member.

For more information on State Street Global Advisors’ asset stewardship efforts and its Fearless Girl campaign, click here

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