An organization’s board of directors is seldom a diverse group. In terms of inclusion, it is often filled with “people who know people.” The gender diversity facts speak for themselves.
- Women account for only 20% of all S&P 500 directors
- An average board of directors (11 members) has two female members
- Just 4% of S&P 500 CEOs are female
- Women account for 14% of the top five leadership positions at the companies in the S&P 500
Despite this, about 47% of the workforce is female and more than 50% of the personal wealth in the U.S. is held by women. And more women ages 28-34 have college degrees than men.
Why aren’t there more women on the boards? Because 27% of directors say they don’t believe there are enough qualified diverse candidates available. We have a few simple tips for boards needing more women, and for women seeking these positions.
How to increase gender diversity on a Board of Directors
- Look beyond the C-suite. There are many women functioning like CEOs and running large segments of the business. They’re driving strategies and dealing with risks.
- Network with current female board members.
- Hire an impartial search team and request diversity as a requirement.
How women can gain a seat on a Board of Directors
- Hone your financial background (be available to sit on the audit committee).
- Do you have social media expertise? Many boards are looking for this.
- Start with nonprofit boards as a launching pad for corporate board service.
- Network – network – network. Ask for introductions to current board members.
These are just a few tips. For current board members – remember that boards with gender diversity have a better ROI than those that do not. Having gender diversity on a board is not only the right thing to do – it’s the financially smart thing to do.
Source: Fortune, “This Explains Why More Women Aren’t Landing Board Seats,” Paula Loop. Feb. 15, 2016