More and more female-owned businesses feature in the Fortune 500 every year, and with research showing that company profits and share performance can be close to 50% higher when women are well represented at the top1, it’s clear there is much to gain from prioritising this.

To find out just how much influence women have in the decision making at major companies, a new study by Small Business Prices has analysed the gender ratio on the board of directors of 15 companies across technology, entertainment and e-commerce.

As it turns out, only 34% of the 163 board members in this study are women, with technology company Zoom having the lowest percentage of women in their board of directors at 20%.

Diversity in technology companies

Looking at five major companies in the technology industry, only one-third of board members are women. The study also found two of the least gender-diverse companies in this industry, with the lowest percentage of female board members found at Zoom (20%) and Tesla (22%).

With research showing that 85% of female millennials seek out employers with a strong record on diversity2, more women in the boardroom can have a great impact not only on the profit of the business but also on attracting the best talent for their teams.

This is how each company ranks on gender diversity, listed from the highest to lowest percentage of female board members:

Rank

Company

Total number of directors

Female directors

% that are women

1

Facebook

9

4

44%

2

Microsoft

12

5

42%

3

Apple

8

3

38%

4

Tesla

9

2

22%

5

Zoom

10

2

20%

As well as ranking best in the technology industry, Facebook is the 2nd top company for gender-diversity in the study overall, with 44% of its board of directors being women. They also have the only female COO on the board of directors, with Sheryl Sandberg overseeing the company’s business operations.

Diversity in entertainment companies

Entertainment companies have the least women on their boards of directors in the study, with just 31% being women. Considering the big role the entertainment industry plays in the representation and understanding of different lifestyles and cultures, more gender diversity in their board rooms would be an invaluable asset with a massive impact on how we tell stories and which stories get told.

However, some companies in this industry have put more work into ensuring a diverse board of directors than others. After analysing the board members of five major entertainment companies, this is how each company ranks for gender-diversity in the boardroom:

Rank

Company

Total number of directors

Female directors

% that are women

1

Disney

10

4

40%

2

Playstation (Sony)

12

4

33%

3

Lionsgate

13

4

31%

4

Spotify

10

3

30%

5

Netflix

12

3

25%

While the industry scores low on gender-diversity overall, Disney ranks 4th best out of all 15 companies with 4 out of their 10 board members being women (40%). They also have the highest revenue out of all entertainment companies in this study.

Netflix on the other hand has the lowest percentage of women on their board of directors in this industry, at 25% featuring. Their board of directors sits two female independent directors and Leslie Kilgore, the company’s previous CMO.

Diversity in e-commerce companies

Analysing the board members of all three industries, e-commerce ranks top for gender-diversity across their board of directors out of all three categories, with a total of 39% being women.

Considering the fact that women drive the majority of all consumer purchasing, through a combination of their buying power and influence3, e-commerce is a critical field to have gender diversity to best understand and meet the customer’s needs.

This is how well-represented women are in the boardrooms of five major companies in this industry, ranked from the highest to lowest percentage of women on the board:

Rank

Company

Total number of directors

Female directors

% that are women

1

Amazon

11

5

45%

2

Asos

10

4

40%

3

eBay

13

5

38%

4

Inditex

11

4

36%

5

Nike

13

4

31%

Online retail giant Amazon tops the list as the best company for gender-diversity in the whole study with 45% of their 11 board members being women, supporting the research that shows higher gender diversity means higher profit.

Asos also scored well, ranking 5th best out of all 15 companies, with 40% of their board members being women, while Nike came out as the least gender-diverse company in this industry at 31%.

Ian Wright, founder of Small Business Prices comments: “While there has been an increase in the number of female CEOs running big companies, this study shows that there still is a long way to go to close the gender gap in the boardrooms.

With women dominating the purchase decisions in the household, it’s surprising that they’re not a greater part of the decision-making in these major companies. Our research shows that more than a quarter of the companies featured have 30% or fewer women represented on their board of directors, and we hope that this study can spark a discussion on the continued need to close this gap.”

To learn more about gender diversity in boardrooms, see the full piece here.

By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.