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Large public companies have made considerable progress in appointing women to boards, but smaller companies have some catching up to do, according to a new report from Catalyst and the 30% Club Canada. 

The report, released on Thursday, found that the percentage of women on the boards of companies on the S&P/TSX composite index rose from 18.3% in 2015 to 27.6% in 2019. In August 2019 — for the first time — every company on the index had at least one woman on its board.

However, for the TSX as a whole, women accounted for 19.4% of board members in 2019, suggesting that small- and mid-cap companies are farther behind in achieving gender balance.

The report also indicated that companies have been slow to appoint women to executive teams. Women represented 17.9% of the company executives on the S&P/TSX composite index in 2019 (up from 15% in 2015), and represented 17% of company executives on the TSX as a whole.

“We are definitely seeing progress for these index companies, particularly when it comes to advancing women on boards, and these numbers reinforce that this country’s largest companies are leading the pack in this area,” says Tanya van Biesen, executive director, Canada, Catalyst. “But there is clearly still much work to do to accelerate progress for women at the executive level.”