A Half Milestone For Corporate Boards

WOMEN ARE NOW making slow but steady gains in U.S. boardrooms. Among the top 1,000 companies, 583 have at least one woman director, according to a survey by Catalyst. The women's research and advocacy organization, which used proxies filed by Mar. 31, says the number jumped 11% from 1993.

For the first time, more than half of the top 500 industrial companies, which have been slower than service companies to invite women on boards, now have women directors: 260 of the manufacturing companies, vs. 323 of the top 500 service companies. Catalyst says the number of women directors also grew--from 500 to 570--with half of the rookies having no previous service on big-company boards. And five companies, including Avon Products and U S West, even boast four female directors.

That's the "glass is half-full" view of the survey. Catalyst also reports that women make up a mere 6.9% of total board members at these companies, leaving a lot of work to do at the many large companies that have yet

to appoint women directors (table).

     NO (BOARD) ROOM
           FOR WOMEN HERE
           A sampling of
          all-male boards:
              COMPAQ
          EMERSON ELECTRIC
            MICROSOFT
           PAINEWEBBER
      UNITED PARCEL SERVICE
      
      DATA: CATALYST
      
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