Our research

Tracking trends for women in directorship

Highlighting the benefits of gender diversity

Since 2010, The Leadership Foundry has collaborated with Kogod School of Business at American University to study gender diversity and its effect within the corporate boardroom. The resulting annual research reports include publicly traded companies within Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Through our research and advocacy, The Leadership Foundry fuels awareness of the lack of female representation on corporate boards and encourages local organizations to support board gender diversity. But while this progress is important, it’s still not enough. We will continue to strive towards creating an equal space for women in the corporate boardroom until we reach our goal.

2019 Research Report: Advancing Women to the Corporate Boardroom

In our annual research report, the focus was on board influence. The report looks at the annual gender diversity index as well as the initial investigation of the influence women in leadership roles (“power positions”) have on the composition of the board.

Our latest findings

Though positive change can be a long process, we applaud every step women make towards achieving equality in corporate board roles.


increase in board positions filled by women since 2010


increase in boards who have achieved critical mass (3+ women) since 2010


fewer boards with no female representation since 2010

Making steady progress

One of the factors we monitor in our research is the number of corporate boards that have achieved critical mass — having three or more positions filled by women.

Critical mass is an important measure of corporate board diversity. Not only is it the number required to avoid stereotyping, reaching critical mass also increases a board’s ability to innovate and collaborate.

Past reports

Select a report or fact sheet below to download a PDF.


Looks at board evaluations, term limits and mandatory retirement age as potential board diversity factors.


Compares our study area to four states that have or are considering passing legislative quotas for women in the boardroom.


Takes a closer look at the positive link between board gender diversity and overall company performance.


Examines young companies’ role in creating opportunities for women to serve on boards.


Shows the positive financial benefits of board gender diversity and compares progress in the US to other countries.


Explores critical mass and SEC initiatives to address board diversity through transparency and accountability.


Our first report serves as a baseline for the progress of women on boards in the region and introduces the concept of “critical mass”.