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executive-454865_1280An 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