Women on company boards supports good corporate governance: Moody’s

Chennai, March 5 (IANS) Companies based in advanced economies exhibit a correlation between board gender diversity and credit ratings, but those in emerging markets do not, states global credit ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service.

Women account for an average of 29 per cent of the board seats of investment-grade companies (those rated Baa and above), up one percentage point from last year, and an average of 24 per cent of the board seats of speculative-grade companies (those rated Ba and below), Moody’s said in its latest report.

“The presence of women on boards – and the potential diversity of opinion they bring – supports good corporate governance, which is positive for credit quality. The data do not demonstrate direct causation between gender diversity and credit quality,” the report notes.

According to the report, higher credit ratings also correlated with greater racial and ethnic diversity on North American boards.

“The boards of North American investment-grade companies have more women from racial and ethnic minority groups than those of speculative-grade companies, according to our analysis of 1,088 rated companies. This indicates a correlation between credit quality, gender and racial diversity on boards,” Moody’s said.

In European companies, 35 per cent of the board seats are held by women up by 2 per cent from 33 per cent in 2023.

“North American companies follow closely behind, with female representation on boards rising to 30 per cent from 29 per cent last year. Women account for less than 20 per cent of board seats in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific,” said Moody’s.

According to Moody’s service-oriented companies tend to have more diverse boards. Women hold nearly one-third of the board seats in service and consumer sectors, such as insurance, retail and business products, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, utilities and consumer products.

This is largely reflective of corporate boards in Europe and North America, where most of the companies we examined in these sectors are located. Heavy industry and commodity sectors have the lowest percentage of women on boards.

Moody’s report also said that women account for an average of 34 per cent of the boards of companies with positive governance characteristics, as indicated by the governance issuer profile scores (G-1) that the credit rating agency has assigned to those companies. This is up from 31 per cent in 2023.

Companies with negative exposure to governance considerations (G-4 and G-5) have seen a decline in the average percentage of women on their boards during the same period.



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