Responsible Investors | Deep-dive: Women on boards no ‘silver bullet’ for better gender diversity

The question of how to increase gender diversity in companies has long been debated. Consequently, investors have mainly chosen to advocate for a higher share of women at the board level. This approach has been further supported by regulations, which require a certain percentage of women on the boards of listed companies. However, Fiona McNally’s article in Responsible Investor asks whether such an approach truly increases the gender diversity of companies.

To answer this question, Fiona reflects on the arguments and challenges of key actors, including insights from Denominator.

The article highlights that women on boards represent a reliable metric indicating commitment to gender diversity which is material for long-term investors. However, as Denominator’s CEO Anders Rodenberg puts it, “All investors are paying attention to women on boards and think this is a silver bullet, but it isn’t always the case.” Market participants also criticize that the share of women at the entry level as well as in executive teams remains low, meaning that large parts of companies still do not achieve gender diversity. Therefore, they demand that investors look beyond the board level.

Investors, however, blame a lack of data on workforce composition and hiring and retention processes for the issue.  Moreover, they point out the challenge of inconsistent reporting across companies and the low comparability of companies due to country-specific organizational structures.

Clare Payn the DE&I stewardship lead at Legal & General Investment Management’s complaints “some companies call it “executive committee”, some say “executive leadership”. We are invested in thousands of companies, so we can’t go through annual reports to figure this out”.

We have some exciting news for the investment management sector. Gone are the days of sifting through endless annual reports. Gone are the days of sifting through endless annual reports, as Denominator have empowered the industry access to meticulously curated data that streamlines this process.

Our expansive investment universe spans over 40,000 entities, and what sets us apart is our comprehensive inclusion of diversity dimensions such as Race/Ethnicity, Disability, Age, Sexuality, and more. Not limited to just board level, but also covering executive and company-wide levels, our structured data empowers investors to analyze their portfolios with precision across various diversity dimensions – by their choice.

With data availability no longer posing a historical barrier, it’s time to elevate the approach beyond board level. Let’s embark on a journey towards human-centric investment and ownership decisions,  shaping a more inclusive investment landscape.

To learn more about Denominator’s data solutions and insights, please reach out to

Want to know more?