For the second year in a row, public real estate companies added more women than men to their boards.
During the spring proxy season, real estate investment trusts added 60 new female members, meaning 50.4 percent of the 119 new directors were women, according to data from Ferguson Partners. Last year, 52 percent of new directors were women, which was the first time the majority of newly elected members were female, the Wall Street Journal reports. The share of women on REIT boards has more than doubled since 2015, when 25 percent of new members were women.
“Real estate remains an old boys’ club, and it’s been slow to change. But it’s changing,” said Nori Gerardo Lietz, a longtime investor who joined the board of Mack-Cali Realty Corp. last month.
Still, these numbers only represent newly elected members — board’s have a long way to go to achieving parity. According to Ferguson, eight out of every 10 REIT directors are male, and nearly 10 percent of REITs have no female directors.
That 10 percent is likely going to feel increased pressure in the years ahead, from the market and, in some cases, the government. In California, all public companies are required to have at least one woman on their board. By 2021, companies with six or more directors must have at least two female directors.