Here’s a topline view of our fresh new research on gender balance and diversity policies in the C25 companies, based on publicly available data as of February 2022. This is the second time our team has put together these results using extensive desk research.

This year, nearly twice as many companies have diversity policies with clear targets for both the board and the executive management team (six companies, up from only three last year). A good increase, but still room for improvement.

Overall, we can see that
– C25 boards have slightly improved toward complying with the recommendations to set, publish and achieve gender targets
– As for executive management teams, the situation looks weaker, with a much lower % female than on boards, although with a slight positive development in setting clear gender goals
– As in 2021, only 2 chairpersons are female
– In many cases, the policy for making progress toward diversity still consists of a few sentences in the CSR or SDG report notes, without concrete measures or milestones
– Although progress is slow, it is good to see that the C25 are beginning to take this issue seriously and that some improvement is visible. Focus should be on more rapid improvement in gender balance on executive management teams.

You may or may not be aware that the board of directors is responsible for reviewing, EVERY YEAR, what actions the company is taking to ensure relevant diversity at the different management levels. Some boards are more active with this task than others, and performance will only improve with more active board involvement. Be sure it is on the annual wheel of agenda topics at YOUR board meetings

Key Findings
Based on data from Feb. 2022 (and Feb. 2021) boards currently have an average of 36,6% female, which is only a minor improvement compared to 36% in 2021. The most visible progress has been in stating a clear goal, with all 24 of C25 (100%) doing so. 15 companies (63%) achieved their goal, compared to 14 (58%) in 2021.

As in 2021, weaker compliance is seen on executive management teams. They have, on average, only 14% female (compared to 13% in 2021), with 13 companies having zero women on the executive management team. There is a slight positive development in companies setting a clear gender goal: 6 of 24 C25 companies do this, while it was only 3 companies in 2021. However, no company has achieved their target in 2022.

Ambition Level

We see a wide variety of ambition levels for gender targets across the companies, but six boards have set their targets higher, as have four executive management teams, although there are still 18 companies with no published % female target for their executive management teams.


Diversity Policies

It has long been a recommendation in the Corporate Governance Guidelines that companies create and publish clear diversity policies. These should focus on issues that strengthen management’s qualifications and competencies and support the company’s future development. They should also explain how the company will actively work on increasing diversity, including the gender distribution at the different management levels in the company.

Our research shows that all the C25 companies have published diversity policies in some format, but in many cases, the published policy for making progress toward diversity consists of a few sentences in the CSR or SDG report notes, without concrete measures or milestones. In our full report, you can find extracts from the policies in individual company one-pagers.  Overall, only 6 out of 24 C25 companies (25%) state their goals for BOTH board of directors and executive management, but that is double the number for last year (three companies).

Companies to be celebrated

Despite the work that still needs to be done, many companies are already doing a good job, and some have shown good improvement over the past year.

Female chairmanship

The findings show that 19 out of 24 C25 companies currently have no female chair or deputy chair. There are four boards with a female deputy chair and only two out of 24 C25 companies – Chr. Hansen and Genmab – have a female chair. Interestingly, Genmab is the only company with both a female chair AND deputy chair.

If you’d like more information on how we did the research, or detailed findings for each company, don’t hesitate to contact us here: