Posts Tagged 'Women on boards'

‘Woman’: Not a Box to Be Checked Off

by Caroline Turner for The Huffington Post

Everyone knows that having women on a company’s board of directors is good for the company’s bottom line. (If you need a refresher, click on the business case, a free download on my website.) Catalyst did a study of companies with “sustained” high representation of women — at least three women board members in a minimum of four of five years studied. These companies significantly outperformed those with sustained low representation — 84 percent higher return on sales, 60 percent higher return on invested capital and 46 percent higher return on equity.

The Catalyst study indicates that what makes a difference to the bottom line is not having a woman but having women… plural. A 2006 study by Wellesley Centers for Women concluded that “a critical mass of three or more women can cause a fundamental change in the boardroom and enhance corporate governance.” When there are three, “women are no longer seen as outsiders and are able to influence the content and process of board discussions more substantially.”

This makes sense given the phenomenon that Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant addressed in their article “Speaking While Female.” If there is one woman, she may not speak up, she may be talked over, or her ideas may be credited to a man who repeats them. As a result, the feminine voice will not be represented. There is no real gender diversity. There is just a token. Read more here.

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UK’s Top Boardrooms Look Set To Hit 25% Women Target

by Dina Medland for Forbes

Women now make up 23.5% of non-executive director positions on the boards of Britain’s top FTSE 100 listed companies. Just 17 more female appointments to these boards are needed to reach the 25% female target by end-2015 set by Lord Davies of Abersoch four years ago in his review for the UK government on the under-representation of women on boards.

“The rate of change that we have seen in FTSE 100 companies over the last four years has been remarkable. The voluntary approach is working, boards are getting fixed” Lord Davies will say at the launch of his report in London today.

“FTSE 100 boards have made enormous progress in the last four years, almost doubling female representation to just shy of 25 per cent.  We must celebrate this outstanding achievement and the change in culture that is taking hold at the heart of British business. The evidence is irrefutable: boards with a healthy female representation outperform their male-dominated rivals” Vince Cable, the UK Business Secretary who commissioned the Davies Review, will say today.

The authors of the Female FTSE Board Report 2015 who include Professor Susan Vinnicombe CBE, Dr Ruth Sealy and Dr Elena Doldor of Cranfield University’s School of Management –  say that if the appointment rate of one woman to every two men appointed is sustained over the coming months, the 25% target should indeed be met before the end of this year.

Women in leadership: An investing strategy that’s working

by Clare O’Hara for The Globe and Mail

While there are no investment products in Canada that focus exclusively on gender diversity, that doesn’t mean fund companies are turning a blind eye.

Fund families such as NEI Ethical Funds, OceanRock Meritas Funds and IA Clarington Inhance SRI Funds are starting to integrate gender diversity issues into their investment approaches as part of their socially responsible investing (SRI) strategies.

“The SRI fund companies have been successfully involved in engagement on gender diversity issues,” says Deb Abbey, CEO of the Responsible Investment Association. “They have been engaged in dialogue with many of the companies in their portfolios and have been actively voting their proxies in favour of gender diversity on boards.”

Last year, the Ontario Securities Commission implemented a new rule that requires companies to provide more transparency on their policies to add more women to their boards of directors and senior management ranks. Read more here.

Germany Sets Gender Quota in Boardrooms

by Alison Smale and Claire Cain Miller for The New York Times

Germany on Friday became the latest and most significant country so far to commit to improving the representation of women on corporate boards, passing a law that requires some of Europe’s biggest companies to give 30 percent of supervisory seats to women beginning next year.

Fewer than 20 percent of the seats on corporate boards in Germany are held by women, while some of the biggest multinational companies in the world are based here, including Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler — the maker of Mercedes-Benz vehicles — as well as Siemens, Deutsche Bank, BASF, Bayer and Merck.

Supporters said the measure has the potential to substantially alter the landscape of corporate governance here and to have repercussions far beyond Germany’s borders.

In passing the law, Germany joined a trend in Europe to accomplish what has not happened organically, or through general pressure: to legislate a much greater role for women in boardrooms. Read more here.

Seeking German Women for Boardrooms as Quotas Near

by Tino Andresen and Birgit Jennen for Bloomberg

Time is running out for Ulrich Lehner, the supervisory board chairman of German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp AG, as lawmakers prepare to enforce female quotas in corporate boardrooms.

The number of women on the board that oversees ThyssenKrupp’s executives is set to rise to four of a total 20 after a shareholder meeting today, short of the 30 percent minimum that will be required. Starting in 2016, more than 100 of the country’s biggest listed companies will be forced to choose women when filling vacant supervisory board seats to reach the threshold. This year, smaller firms must set their own targets and publicize plans to achieve these.

“Good women are a rare commodity” for supervisory boards, Lehner told journalists in Dusseldorf on Jan. 27. “Where will these women come from who are suitable to take up supervisory board positions? They come from the same places as suitable men come from, from occupations that qualify them to supervise companies.” Read more here.

How to Change the Ratio of Women on Boards

By Lydia Dishman for Fast Company

Does gender really matter when you’re in a leadership position?

Not as much as you might think.

A new study from the Pew Research Center found that honesty, intelligence, and decisiveness are believed to be the most essential leadership traits, according to 80% of adults. Both men and women agree. Large swaths of both genders say that innovation and intelligence is in evidence in both men and women. As for honesty, ambition, and decisiveness —there’s no gender distinction there, either.

If that is the case, there’s even less of a reason for the disparity of female board members at public companies in the U.S. According to a new study from nonprofitresearch organization Catalyst, the U.S. has 19.2% of board seats at S&P 500 companies, lagging behind Norway, Finland, France and Sweden, each around 30%.

Statistics like these had Solange Charas, puzzled and frustrated. Before she started her own consulting firm, Charas spent more than 20 years in c-suites and a variety of company boards including heading up human resources at Praetorian Financial Group and EURO RSCG, a national director at Arthur Anderson, a leader of the international compensation team at Towers Perrin, and was a board member of Martha Stewart’s company (pre-IPO). Read more here.

Why having quotas may hurt women in the corporate boardroom

by Catherine Rampell for The Washington Post

Women deserve more seats in the highest corporate echelons. But a mandate is the wrong way to get there.

Germany seems to disagree. After months of debate, the German cabinet last week imposed a quota for women on big companies’ boards. The policy was a response to the fact that women are currently underrepresented in leadership positions: They comprise 46 percent of the labor force but hold just 15 percent of supervisory-board seats at Germany’s 200 biggest companies.

Germany is not the first to implement such a policy; Norway instituted corporate board quotas several years ago. France, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands followed suit. There is periodic agitation forimporting such policies to the United States , too. Read more here.


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