Number of women on top boards unchanged in 2009

Wed Dec 9, 2009 5:10pm EST
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Men outnumber women on top U.S. boards of directors six to one, a ratio unchanged in 2009 from the year before, said research released on Wednesday.

Women held 15.2 percent of the seats on U.S. boards of directors this year and last, according to Catalyst, an organization that works to advance women in business.

The research was drawn from Fortune 500 companies.

The findings are "disappointing," said Ilene Lang, head of Catalyst, who noted women comprise half the U.S. work force.

"The leadership doesn't reflect the marketplace or the talent pool," she said.

Also, women comprised 6.3 percent of corporate top earners in 2009, Catalyst found. There was no comparison to previous years for top earners, due to changes in terminology and job categories.

Catalyst found 67 companies had at least 25 percent women on their boards of directors, and 61 companies had none, in 2009.

Also, 86 companies had at least 25 percent women executive officers, such as chief executives, financial officers and operating officers, and 145 companies had none, it found. (Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst; editing by Michelle Nichols and Mohammad Zargham)

<p>Office workers descend a set of stairs to a train station in central Sydney October 8, 2009. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne</p>