Gender diversity increasing on Saskatoon Region boards

“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

In 2019, SREDA began to track gender diversity in leadership across organizations in the Saskatoon Region. We were interested both in understanding where the Saskatoon Region stood and in measuring change into the future. That first survey showed room for progress: on the 50 boards we reviewed, the average number of seats held by women on a board was 3.90 seats, while the average held by men was 6.76 seats.

With new data for 2020, we are pleased to report some change. The average number of board seats held by women rose to 4.16 in 2020, with board seats held by men at an average of 6.60. The average number of board seats in total also rose slightly, from 10.64 in 2019 to 10.80 in 2020.

“Gender diversity, like all forms of diversity, is important to our Region’s growth,” said SREDA CEO Alex Fallon. “Making progress on gender diversity for the boards of Saskatoon Region organizations helps guide us forward, supporting an inclusive future built for everyone living, working and doing business in the Region.”

More progress has been made for board chair positions held by women. In 2019, 22.0% of board chairs were women, while the remaining 78.0% were men. In 2020, 28.0% of board chairs were women and 72.0% were men. Though there is still a disparity, the gender gap is shrinking.

“This report certainly reflects progress, and the needle has moved to some extent in Saskatoon, particularly regarding women holding Chair positions on boards,” said Prabha Mitchell, CEO of Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan (WESK). “However, we should challenge ourselves as a community to enhance participation rates of women on boards in the coming years.”

To that end, SREDA will continue to measure gender diversity on Saskatoon Region boards in the years to come, aiming to enable our community to have informed conversations about promoting growth for a future where all people can thrive.