By now, we all know that there aren't enough women on corporate boards. Study after study after study has told us this. We're constantly reminded, almost to the point of fatigue, that the percentage is somewhere around 16 to 19 percent, depending on who's doing the counting and how.
Yet while it's clear the percentages are low, it's not always easy to put that into perspective. Enter a new study released Wednesday by EY, the global organization for Ernst & Young.
It looked at companies in the S&P 1500 at the time of their 2014 annual meetings and found that 2,150 of the 13,850 total board seats were held by women. Then it noticed an interesting detail. Slightly more of the seats — 2,200 of them — were held by men who were named John, Robert, William or James.
(No word on how the numbers would fare if you added every Tom, Dick and Harry.)
In all seriousness, the closeness of these numbers is pretty eye-opening and unsettling. 'The pace of change is absolutely glacial," says Karyn Twaronite, the firm's global diversity and inclusion officer. "The idea that we can essentially pick out four common men’s names, at random, and find this shows there’s a long way to go."