Cosmetics and personal care industries have room for more women leaders

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Cosmetics and personal care industries have room for more women leaders

Related tags New york Board of directors

This month, the Women’s Forum of New York held its third biennial event honoring companies striving to achieve gender balance on their corporate boards and just over 10 beauty companies and suppliers made the cut.

Corporate boards with at least 50% of the seats held by women are rare. Only three cosmetics companies were honored for this level of gender balance at the Women’s Forum’s 2015 Breakfast of Corporate Champions & Symposium last week at Cipriani on 42nd Street.

Women mean business

Women drive the beauty economy; it’s women’s spending that turns into corporate revenue. So many would expect to see numerous women leaders involved at the board level.

The Women’s Forum of New York, and its 70+ counterpart organizations internationally, encourage and applaud companies that live up to this expectation.

“We’re here today to celebrate the executives in this room. The decision makers and the change drivers who know…that women on boards…is a strategic business imperative that drives bottom line results,” ​saysJanice Reals Ellig, Chair of the organization’s Corporate Board Initiative in an event sizzle reel.

Change agents

Avon Products, with 60%+, has the highest percentage of women on its corporate board, not just in contrast to other cosmetics companies but the highest percentage of any company honored by the Women’s Forum this year. 

The Estée Lauder Companies and Ulta have achieved gender balance with 50%+ women on their respective corporate boards.

At P&G women hold 30%+ of the board seats, and the preponderance of industry corporations on the list were recognized for having boards comprised of 20-29% women.

Here are those celebrated by the Women’s Forum with 20%+ women on their corporate board:

  • Colgate-Palmolive Company
  • The Dow Chemical Company
  • DuPont
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • MeadWestvaco Corporation
  • Sally Beauty Holdings


Education and leadership

Following the breakfast presentation of champions at last week’s event, the forum hosted a symposium where leaders had the chance to learn more.

The three concurrent sessions covered the board perspective in a panel titled, “How Nominating/Governing Committees Can Accelerate Change”; the investor perspective with “How Gender Diversity Creates Value”; and the global perspective in a panel that asked, “Is the US Leading or Lagging?”

The event closed with a lunch-time keynote presentation from Mary Jo White, Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Beyond this event and the initiative behind it, the Women’s Forum of New York also advances women’s leadership with professional enrichment activities for members (who join the group by invitation only). And the forum has an Education Fund, “which provides education awards to high potential women whose careers have been derailed by adversity,” ​according to the organization’s site.

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