At Last: Top Business Schools To Create Ultimate List Of Potential Female Board Members
6:45 pm, June 29th | by Amy Tennery
As it may or may not have occurred among the elite businessfolk of the world, there are not a ton of female directors on top U.S. company boards. Alarming stat: 40 percent of large, American companies have no women on their boards at all, according to a recent report from the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. And among S&P’s top 10 companies, women comprise just 22 percent of board members. These are not statistics that encourage a gal. Luckily, it would appear that some of top business schools in the U.S. are joining forces to change this male-dominant trend.
The Forté Foundation, a consortium of nearly 40 business schools is launching an initiative to get more women on company boards, according to a very heartening report from Businessweek today. The group has asked its 33 U.S.-based member schools to help ferret out good female contenders for corporate boards around the country and identify five women that each believes are fit for the boardroom. Ultimately, Forté will have a 165-person list of women it believes are ready for the boardroom. You want female board members? They got your female board members.
The initiative is a solid plan — and a welcome alternative to the quota-based solution that’s dominated the board diversity conversation. While the European Union has long flirted with a mandatory quota system to get more female company directors (and a similar plan has worked out pretty smoothly in Norway), you’d be loathe to find a lot of women who’d want this as a Plan A. Sure, no company is going to accept a board member it doesn’t deem fit to serve — but quota systems come with a nasty set of stigmas, regardless.
Another benefit to Forté’s plan? The next time sometime tries to say there aren’t any good women to put on U.S. boards, we’ll all be able to point to a list. How satisfying that will be.