Good corporate decision-making requires the ability to hear and consider different points of view, which comes from people having different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. Organizations having women directors and executive officers often lead the case by example, sending a clear message that they value diversity of thought and experience. Promoting women to positions of leadership is smart business. That said, Slow progress in adding more women to boards has dominated the conversation which is clearly manifested by the fact that as per recent data, Women currently hold 12.4% of board positions in India & a meagre 19% in America when compared with a staggering volume of more than 30% in European countries such as France, Norway, and Sweden, where legislative or voluntary targets are in place. A few measures that can be taken to make progress in accelerating gender diversity in boardrooms are:
Shifting the mindset
Even stragglers acknowledge that increasing the percentage of women in the workforce and on boards is the right thing to do. Many seasoned veterans believe that general conviction isn’t sufficient & that the real obstacle is the lack of urgency. Consequential change will come only when executives from the C-Suite make fewer excuses and work together quickly. What’s needed is purpose and intention — a set of goals and motivations that support decision making. For some, that has meant creating a target number of board positions for women, while for others to ensure that the list of candidates is diverse from the beginning, without adherence to a static quota.
Openness towards an extensive criterion
In spite of their best efforts, some organizations cite the small pool of female executives as a continuing challenge. And they add that specific criterion for expertise in any particular field narrows it even further. Incapacitating this reality of unequal numbers mandates arriving at meaningful solutions through constant lateral thinking. One is to move beyond the standard practice of focusing a search on executives with prior board experience & look for someone who has the ability to move from the tactical to the strategic to churn out results. This can further help in creating a rich balance of perspectives at the table.
Sustaining an active pipeline
Effectually creating and growing an active pipeline of female candidates is debatably the single most important element of a successful board-inclusion effort. This simply refers to relying on both personal networks and search firms to identify candidates while conducting a search. Relying only on the former, particularly where a board is composed largely of men, risks perpetuating the candidate slates from the old-timers while relying solely on search firms can produce highly qualified candidates who are not particularly suited to the personal dynamics of the board. A little patience may also be necessary as some of the best candidates may take years to cultivate.
A few benefits of facilitating gender diversity on boardrooms are:
- Women on boards bring different perspectives to the problematic issues contended by organisations today. It would be fair to state that this directly results in better decision making.
- It directly impacts the stakeholder representation of an organization as The makeup of corporate boards of directors is a strong representative of the organization it governs.
- It helps organizations in garnering a strong competitive advantage as a diverse board is better positioned to thrive in today’s global economy where the pace of change is accelerating and rapidly changing economic realities require nimble, strategic and well-informed directors.
- It has been demonstrated over the years that seasoned women executives & leaders offer the skills & experience that most boards need, including industry-specific knowledge, operational insights, and functional expertise. There is an enormous untapped pool of talent.