MILWAUKEE — A nonprofit organization’s report shows the number of women on the corporate boards of publicly traded companies in Wisconsin is slowly growing.

Milwaukee Women Inc. says almost 18 percent of directors among the state’s 50 largest public companies are women, up from almost 17 percent last year.

Women have gained three board seats since last year, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported . There are now 79 out of 449 directors that are women, up from 76 out of 451 directors last year.

Milwaukee Women Inc. chair Sandy Wysocki says that while progress is slow, it’s still continuing an upward trend.

Women had just over 9 percent of board seats when the nonprofit began in 2003.

Public companies don’t frequently appoint new directors. Wisconsin’s 50 largest companies only named 18 new directors in the first six months of 2017.

“These are long-term decisions,” Wysocki said, “and I think some of the impact of what’s being done today as far as increasing the number of women in the pipeline bodes well for the future.”

Companies with more women on their boards have higher returns on sales, higher returns on equity and higher returns on invested capital, according to research by national advocacy group Catalyst.

“Besides being a good thing to do, it’s good for the business,” Wysocki said.

Madison-based Alliant Energy Corp. had the most female representation on its board, with women making up half of its 10-member board.

Seven of the 50 companies had no female directors, according to the report.

Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.