May 3, 2021 3:59 pm

Updated report on gender diversity of eds and meds boards shows some gains

But racial diversity remains "dire," according to the latest update of 2019 census of board members of the 50 largest nonprofit medical and educational institutions in Greater Philadelphia by the Women's Nonprofit Leadership Initiative.

30% representation by women is a benchmark used by prominent national organizations and the Pennsylvania House of Representative when it passed a resolution urging both for-profit and nonprofit boards to reach a 30% minimum by 2020.

(Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash)

Update: The fifth and seventh paragraphs have been edited to make clear how many institutions from the 2019 report were studied for the 2021 update. The number of institutions listed in the graphics has been corrected accordingly. (5/6/21 at 11:30 a.m.)
“Some regional nonprofit higher education and healthcare institutions (eds and meds) have improved the representation of women on their governing boards of trustees.”

That is according to a March 2021 update to the 2019 report “The Gender Gap in Nonprofit Boardrooms” by the Women’s Nonprofit Leadership Initiative and the Nonprofit Center at La Salle University’s School of Business.

The original report was a census of women on the governing boards of the 25 largest 501(c)(3) healthcare institutions and the 25 largest 501(c)(3) institutions of higher education in the Greater Philadelphia region — while the update looked at the boards of the eds and meds that fell under the minimum goal of 30% women in the original report.

The new findings reveal improvement, but also warn that “without a concerted effort to change the population of new board members, a significant number of these eds and meds will continue to fall below a generally-accepted minimum goal of 30% women trustees and remain many years away from reaching parity.”

Only two of the 13 eds whose boards fell below the 30% mark in 2019 (Ursinus College and University of Pennsylvania) have exceeded that minimum goal in the ensuing years. Two others (University of the Sciences and LaSalle University) have actually seen a decrease in representation of women, the update details.

However, the report states, “the trend is unquestionably moving in the right direction for nine of the additional 11 educational institutions that were in the below 30% category.”

Among the seven meds in the 2021 update, four health organizations have increased the percentage of women on their boards (Bancroft NeuroHealth, Virtua W Jersey Health System, Albert Einstein Healthcare and Inspira Health Network), while two showed a decrease in gender diversity (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Cooper University Health System).

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“The situation is even more dire for reaching real racial/ethnic diversity, particularly for women of color,” the updated report continues.

Membership on both eds and meds boards covered by the original report has continued to be predominantly white and male.

(Graphic by Generocity, updated 5/6/21)



(Graphic by Generocity, updated 5/6/21)

According to the report, the percentage of men of color on the newly studied eds and meds boards is slightly higher in 2021 than it was in the 50 institutions studied in 2019, but the percentage of women of color on those same boards has declined.

Read the updated report



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