Insights

Fearless Girl Campaign Positive Change Continues

Companies are continuing to respond to our call and adding women to the highest positions of their organizations.

With our Fearless Girl campaign playing no small part, today there is global focus on the value of diversity in the boardrooms.


Engagement Topics

  • Independent oversight of the board and its key committees
  • Board effectiveness, skills and experience
  • Board refreshment and succession-planning processes

Number of Engagements

57


Did you know that since the launch of the Fearless Girl campaign …


In the US, 62% or 612 / 983


In the UK, 83% or 15 / 18


In Canada, 45% or 39 / 87


In Europe, 71% or 10 / 14


In Japan, 46% or 140 / 302


In Australia, 69% or 44 / 64


In Hong Kong, 17% or 2 / 12


In Singapore, 0% or 0 / 6

Our Campaign

On the eve of International Women’s Day 2017, State Street Global Advisors placed a statue of a Fearless Girl in the heart of New York’s Financial District, to raise awareness about the importance of gender diversity in corporate leadership and to call attention to our minimum expectation for companies to have at least one woman on their boards.

Today, there is a global focus on the value of diversity in the boardroom; this is a far cry from where we started out just over three years ago and this change has had a direct impact on the tone of our engagements. When we engage with companies that lack gender diversity, the conversation is no longer about ‘why’ we are engaging on this issue. Instead, the focus is on ‘why not’ enhance their board by embracing the value of diversity.

Fearless Girl Impact — Worldwide Numbers

Fearless Girl's Fourth Anniversary

On March 8, 2021, in celebration of International Women’s Day and Fearless Girl’s fourth anniversary, we launched an exciting activation at the statue in front of the New York Stock Exchange. The installation reflected a broken glass ceiling, representing the many glass ceilings that women have shattered, especially in the last year, both in and out of the boardroom. Because when one glass ceiling shatters, it shatters for us all.

Regional Focus: Our Engagement and Voting Action in 2020

North America

United States (Russell 3000)      The campaign’s momentum continued in the US in 2020, building on its positive impact from the previous years. Since the launch of our campaign, 612 of the Russell 3000 companies initially identified have added at least one female director to their boards. As of Q4 2020, 6% of Russell 3000 companies had all male boards, down from 24% at the start of our campaign.1 We view these as proof points of gender diversity’s status of a mainstream boardroom issue and the ongoing impact of our campaign.

Canada (TSX)      In 2018, the first year of our Fearless Girl campaign in Canada, 37% of companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) lacked gender diversity on their board.2 We identified 73 companies in our investable universe without a female on their boards. Among these companies, 45% have added a female board member.

Europe and the Middle East

UK (FTSE 350)     In the UK, we continued to monitor the few remaining companies in the FTSE 350 that were lacking in board gender diversity. Of the 18 companies identified, 83% (15 companies) have added a female director to the board since Fearless Girl’s original placement.

Europe (STOXX 600 ex-UK)      In 2018, we also expanded the Fearless Girl campaign to the STOXX 600 ex-UK. During the year, 10 companies added a woman to their boards.

Asia-Pacific

Japan (TOPIX 500)      In 2018, we expanded our campaign to Japan, where 56% of TOPIX 500 (281 out of 500) listed companies had all-male boards as of December 2017.3 Since then, despite the low levels of gender diversity, we saw significant progress in companies’ willingness to appoint women to their boards.

We informed these companies of our expectations with regard to diversity. Consequently, 46%4 or 140 of those companies have added a female director to their boards since the expansion of our campaign into Japan.5

During our engagements, many companies explained that they could not identify qualified, internal female candidates to appoint in the next three-to-five years. However, as part of our engagement we helped companies to establish a pathway to improve gender diversity levels within their organizations as this market was starting from a much lower base in terms of establishing a pipeline to improve gender diversity. This pathway included establishing goals, improving hiring practices, and enhancing disclosure related to each company’s position on gender diversity.

In 2020, we voted against directors at 106 companies of Japanese companies that were unresponsive to our engagement efforts.

Australia (ASX 300)      Australian companies have continued to respond well to our call to action, with the percentage of companies within the ASX 300 without a female director decreasing from 17% to 6% over a four-year period.6

Hong Kong (Hang Seng)      In early 2020, when we introduced our gender diversity policy in Hong Kong, 22% of companies (11 issuers) within the Hang Seng index lacked a female director. In the course of 2020, 2 companies added a woman to their board.

Singapore (Straits Times)      We started to apply our gender diversity policy to the companies within Singapore’s Straits Times index in 2020, when 23% of the companies (six issuers) did not have a woman on their board. By the end of 2020, none of 6 companies responded to our call. We will continue holding these companies accountable.