Women in the boardroom


Women in the boardroom

Progress at a snail's pace

Deloitte Global in collaboration with The 30% Club released the seventh edition of 'Women in the boardroom: A global perspective'. The latest edition of the report finds that women hold just 19.7% of board seats globally, a 2.8% increase compared to 2018. The Netherlands shows a percentage of 28.6% female board members compared to 23% in 2018. An increase is this number is expected in the upcoming years as a result of a newly introduced gender diversity bill.


  • This report shows an increase in the percentage of supervisory board chairs in the Netherlands in the last years. In 2018 4.3% of the supervisory board chair positions was held by women compared to 7.8% in 2021.
  • In 2018 5.5% of the Dutch CEOs were female compared to 6.6% in 2021.
  • A global average of 19.7% of board seats are held by women, in the Netherlands this is 28.6%.
Women in the boardroom: A global perspective

Dutch perspective

While global female board representation increased slightly in 2021, progress at the chair of supervisory boards and CEO levels is less apparent, underscoring the notion that placing more women on corporate boards does not necessarily equate to progress across leadership positions. The latest research found that only 6.7% of supervisory board chairs are women, representing just a 1.4% increase from 2018. 

This slight increase is not reflected in the Dutch numbers. In the past years the number of supervisory board chair positions held by women has increased from 4.3% to 7.8%. This result could be explained by the gender diversity bill approved by the Dutch Senate in September 2021, effective January 2022. This bill introduced a quota for at least 33% representation of women for supervisory boards of listed companies and required large Dutch companies to set gender balance targets for their boards and senior management.

A further increase of female board members is not only expected in the supervisory board but also in the management boards. The new gender diversity bill requires the large Dutch companies to draft action plans not only for the supervisory board but also for their management board and other senior management positions.

Even though the increase of board seats held by women has increased in the last years, the research shows there is still a long way to go.

Other key findings

  • The average age of a female boardmember in the Netherlands is 57.4 years, the average age of male boardmembers is 60.6 years.
  • The global average tenure of women directors has reduced from 5.5 years in 2018 to 5.1 years in 2021. In the Netherlands this is 4.3 years for women and 5.4 years for men.
  • The Stretch Factor metric examines how many board seats an individual holds in a particular market. The higher the stretch factor, the greater the number of board seats the same director occupies in a given market. The Stretch Factor for women increased slightly from the 2018 figure of 1.26 to 1.30, indicating that - compared to men - a smaller group of women are taking on a large number of board seats. In the Netherlands the Stretch Factor for women is 1.08.

About 'Women in the boardroom: A global perspective'

The report includes updates from 72 countries on representation of women in the boardroom, exploring insights on the political, social, and legislative trends behind these numbers.

Did you find this useful?