Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Get On Board
In additon, Boards are rarely comprised of women. Those again that are often fall into the categories above. But in a recent study about gender diversity on Corporate Boards by Wellesley Centers for Women they found for a Corporation to be truly diverse they needed at least 3 women on board (40% in some cases) to reach "critical mass" and have an actual affect on overal coroporate governance.
The study found that The respondents women bring value by offering different perspectives, expanding the content of board discussions, raising issues that pertain
to multiple stakeholders (employees, consumers, community members as well as shareholders), asking tough questions, and using their interpersonalskills to promote collaboration. All good and reasonable skill sets to any board.
The study also found that three is the magic number as it can cause a definite shift in board dynamics. The presence of women becomes normalized and removes gender from being a concern. “Three women is mainstream,” one woman director said. With three, many women feel less constrained about associating with other women, more comfortable about being themselves and raising issues that concern them, and less pressured to work so hard to prove themselves. In other words, women are more likely to support and mentor other women while also being more secure in their role as a Director due to the support other women provide simply by just being there.
However, only a small percentage of U.S. companies have reached a critical mass. Only 76 FORTUNE 500 companies had three or more women directors, and only 189 had even two, according to a 2005 study. Research by ION, a national network of eight executive women’s organizations, continues to show that smaller companies tend to have fewer women on their boards. There continues to be active resistance with many CEO's saying "we already have one." Yes we do and some of my best friends are...
Having women on board offers a fresh and needed perspective to Corporate Governance and should not be ignored by a Stockholdes when ensuring the long term value of a company's overall perspective. This is simply a boy's club meeting that has gone on too long. It's time to reach "Critical Mass"