The proportion of women on Stockholm-listed company boards stands at a record high of 34.5%, with the representation of women in executive management teams also increasing.
Stockholm-based pension fund AP2 published Monday its Female Representation index, an annual study that this year analyzed 339 companies listed on the Nasdaq Stockholm. It showed that the proportion of women on boards increased from 33.7% last year. The growth in female representation on boards reversed a yearly decline in 2020, with the proportion of women on boards dropping from 34% in 2019 — the first time there was a drop since 2013.
Female representation at managerial level increased to 26% in 2021, up from 24.3% a year earlier. The proportion of women who are CEOs increased to 12.7%, up from 10.4% last year.
The growth in management team representation was the largest measured in percentage points since studies of Stockholm-listed companies began in 2002, AP2 said in a news release.
However, the proportion of chairwomen on Stockholm-listed company boards remained unchanged at 8.6% — down from a record 10.2% in 2019.
The return to an upward trajectory for women on boards "shows that Swedish owners and companies are diligently working towards a more even gender distribution," Eva Halvarsson, CEO of AP2, said in a news release accompanying the index. "However, we need to be better at diversity in all its dimensions and I think that this is an issue we need to discuss in a wider context in nominating committees, boards, management teams and in society at large."
Of the 339 companies included in the index, 271 or 79.9% had at least 25% female representation on the board, up from 76.5% of companies in 2020. More than 90% of large-cap companies in the index reached at least 25% female representation.
Research behind AP2's index also showed that newly elected women on boards are younger than their male counterparts. These women also have, on average, a slightly higher number of board appointments than males. AP2 said the pattern is unchanged from previous years, although the age difference is greater than previously and both men and women have fewer board assignments than before.
AP2 had 386.2 billion Swedish kronor ($47.1 billion) in assets as of Dec. 31.