Thursday, September 13, 2007

Breaking news: corporate boards lack estrogen

Network 2000 reported Tuesday that the number of women who serve on the boards of publicly traded corporations in Maryland has declined in the last year.

Down from 9.35 percent to 8.9 percent, Maryland dramatically lags the national average of 14.7 percent.

One of the reasons for the gap: Maryland’s industry profile doesn’t match the national one.

Our state has a larger percentage of bioscience/technology companies, which tend to employ fewer women; Maryland also lacks significant manufacturing and retail.

Another factor is the consolidations and mergers over the past year. Two board seats held by women were lost by the merger of Mercantile Bankshares. But that’s not the complete story – the fact remains that there are few women running companies.

I’m curious what others believe the reason is for Maryland’s lack of female representation on boards.

And (do I dare say) is it even important to be concerned about?

-NANCY SLOANE, Assistant to the Publisher

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