Large companies are notorious for the small number of women chief executives and board members they have. Several companies are in a distinct minority because they have bucked the trend. However, the study on which the conclusions about companies with a large percentage of women board members is based is deeply flawed.
According to research firm LedBetter’s examination of 230 brands titled “The Gender Equality Index,” several companies have boards on which over half the members are women. These include H&M Group, 58% of the board that are women, as well as Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent Paris and Stella McCartney, which all have 64% women board members.
Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent Paris and Stella McCartney are part of parent group Kering, which substantial weakens the Ledbetter analysis by its choice of brands that are part of an umbrella corporation with a single board, rather than the brands themselves, which in many cases do not have boards at all. This makes the LedBetter analysis useless.
Next on the list is Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) with 36% of its board members who are women. Following it on the list are Banana Republic and Old Navy, which are part of parent Gap.
Next is Esty, with a board which is 50% women. This is followed by huge consumer electronics company Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY), which has a board membership which is 36% women. Next are Geek Squad, part of Best Buy, and then Best Buy mobile.
The flaw extends to liquor brands Captain Morgan, Johnnie Walker and Tanqueray, which are part of parent Diageo PLC (NYSE: DEO).
The bottom of the list, based on boards with no women, is similarly flawed. It is made up of several Coty brands, which include NYC NewYorkColor, philosophy and Rimmel. The only legitimate company at the bottom of the list is Samsung.
Methodology: LedBetter is a research group that runs a database and application showcasing the number of women in leadership at the world’s top consumer brands and companies. Its mission is to empower and educate consumers, policymakers, leaders, journalists and others about the companies they support and cover, and to improve the public’s understanding of which companies promote gender equality in leadership and which do not.
Too bad the conclusions are worthless.