Women Need To Be In The Boardroom — And Not Just Because It’s “Fair”
1:07 pm, November 15th | by Hillary Reinsberg
It should be surprise to no one to hear that women are hugely underrepresented on corporate boards. A group of British lobbyists are trying to fix that — and not just with the hopes of providing some artificial semblance of equality. They say women can actually combat the “macho culture” that they’re blaming for the financial crisis.
That’s a pretty big statement. What should we make of it?
First, let’s back up. So, the 30% Club is a British lobbying group, which was, believe it or not, created by the chairmen of some of England’s biggest companies. Their goal, The FT explains, is to have women account for 30 percent of spots on corporate boards by 2015. That’s a lofty goal, but it seems like a better and more organic alternative to some of the other things that have been presented. For example, Lord Davies, a British Labour politician in the House of Lords, recently proposed that the country mandate 25 percent female boards.
Whether you’re for or against affirmative action (and Davies’ plan would be nothing but), strict quotas (in our opinion) create resentment, irritation and awkwardness. It would be awesome to get more women on boards, but forcing companies to do so is a slippery slope.
Which is why the 30% Club’s initiative seems better — less forced, more legitimate.
And there’s this too — let’s get back to why they think more women should be on boards. It’s not just because it’s “fair.”
Georgina Marshall, regional head of corporate governance at Aviva Investors and an advocate for the group told the following to The FT:
“As we live through the financial crisis, which is still ongoing, there is a need to challenge what led us to this juncture,” she said, adding that the crisis might have been less deep had there been more diversity on boards. “There was a macho culture that contributed to more risk taking.”
Do you buy it?