Visibility Counts: The LGBTQ+ Board Opportunity
Download Visibility Counts: The LGBTQ+ Board Leadership Opportunity research report

The “Visibility Counts: The LGBTQ+ Board Leadership Opportunity” research report, launched at the Quorum summit, is the first-ever research into LGBTQ+ board diversity.

Published with Ropes & Gray, the research includes the first-ever LGBTQ+ Inclusive Board Diversity Report on the Fortune 500. It also contains tactical policy examples, best practices and seeks to expand the board diversity conversation globally to be LGBTQ+ inclusive.

Key Findings from “Visibility Counts: The LGBTQ+ Board Opportunity” include:

  • Only 24 out of 5,690 Director seats in the Fortune 500 are held by openly LGBTQ+ leaders or 0.2%
  • 88% of LGBTQ+ senior leaders surveyed said that this lack of representation directly resulted in LGBTQ+ leaders being excluded from board opportunities. The seven main reasons for this lack of representation come down to:
    • Lack of inclusion in diversity recruiting efforts,
    • Perceived “lack of demand” among major search firms for LGBTQ+ board representation from their corporate clients,
    • Perceived “lack of offer” for LGBTQ+ board representation,
    • Gaps in data collection and reporting,
    • Anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination in policy and practice,
    • Self-exclusion, and
    • Low turnover and long tenure of board members

The Nasdaq proposal

In August of 2021, the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) approved Nasdaq’s proposal requiring LGBTQ+ inclusive diversity on the boards of its listed companies. The Nasdaq proposal is a turning point for LGBTQ+ inclusive board diversity, requiring approximately 3,300 publicly-traded companies to have at least two diverse directors, including one who self-identifies as female and one who self-identifies as either an underrepresented minority or lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBTQ+), or explain why they don’t. Companies will also be required to disclose diversity statistics about their boards, including the sexual orientation and gender identity of board members. These new rules will be phased in over the next four years, giving companies ample time and no excuses to get their boards to comply. Read more about the proposal and Out Leadership’s involvement here.


Out Leadership’s Quorum initiative aims to increase LGBTQ+ representation at the corporate board level by creating the largest network of board-ready LGBTQ+ executives, facilitating leadership development opportunities for future and current directors, and working with policymakers and companies to expand the board definition of diversity to include LGBTQ+ representation. Learn more about Quorum here.

Complete the following form to access “Visibility Counts: The LGBTQ+ Board Leadership Opportunity.”


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