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Breaking Gender Barriers – Women in the Boardroom

By LEAH EICHLER via The Globe and Mail



The global drum beat of impatience about the lack of women on corporate boards is getting louder, with two new reports highlighting the dearth of female representation in boardrooms.

On Thursday, Catalyst Inc., a not-for-profit group that advocates for women in business, released its new survey on the status of women on Canadian boards.

It found that in 2011, the portion of women on the boards of Canada’s 500 largest companies (public, private and Crown corporations) was a mere 14.5 per cent – an increase of only half a percentage point since 2009. In both years, about 40 per cent of companies had all-male boards.

Catalyst, which issued its report on International Women’s Day, wants corporate Canada to fill 25 per cent of the board seats with women by 2017.

Its report, and its strong recommendation, comes on the heels of a new push in the European Union for legislated quotas to get more women into boardrooms. On Monday, the European Commission announced that a year after voluntary measures were introduced, very little has changed: Women hold only 13.7 per cent of board seats in the EU’s top firms.

The makeup of corporate boards isn’t a rights issue, but a sound business decision. Balanced gender representation on boards has a positive impact to a company’s bottom line. Studies show that more diverse boards are good for business, especially important for those that deal directly with consumers, and have an impact on goodgovernance.

So why do corporate boards still lean so heavily toward men? Read full article>>