In Massachusetts of the United States, 41 largest public companies have no women on their board of directors and 52 percent of the 100 companies have no women executive officers, according to The Boston Club's latest report.

For 2010, women continue to hold a very small proportion of corporate leadership positions in Massachusetts accounting for just 11.3 percent of the directors, which is unchanged from last year, and 8.9 percent of the executive officers of the 100 largest public companies in the state.

There is substantial evidence showing that gender diversity results in better retention of employees and better financial results for investors. It's difficult to understand why public companies are so resistant to appointing women to leadership positions, said Janet Cady, President of The Boston Club and President, Children's Hospital Trust.

A record number of companies -- 12 of the 100 included -- have 3 or more women directors, which is double the number of companies that had at least 3 women directors in 2006-2008 and 3 more than last year. This improvement shows that companies that see the benefit of gender diversity apply the rule of critical mass to their board appointments.

There are just 21 more women directors today than when The Boston Club initiated its Census seven years ago. Sixty-four women hold executive officer seats, up from 60 last year. While their share rose from 8.6 percent to 8.9 percent this past year, women executive officers have yet to match the baseline figures of 69 and 9.2 percent in 2003.

Only 26 of the 100 companies have a woman among their most highly compensated executives. Only six of the 41 new independent directors in the 91 companies included in the 2009 and 2010 Census are women.

The report is being presented at The Boston Club's Corporate Salute, an annual event that recognizes the contributions women make in business and in the boardroom. The event is scheduled on December 2, 7:45 am at the Copley Marriott.

All of us will benefit from diverse leadership at the top of the companies in the forefront of the Commonwealth's economic growth, and women have demonstrated the compelling benefits to the business when they are seated at the table. While this may be considered a social imperative, the reality is that it is just plain good business and good governance, said JoAnn Cavallaro, chair of The Boston Club's Corporate Board Committee.