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Women On Corporate Boards: Moving From ‘Why’ To ‘How’

By Karyn L. Twaronite via Forbes


“It’s done,” tweeted Viviane Reding, vice president of the European Commission and European Union Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship. In a move followed by business and political leaders around the world, the European Commissionrecently adopted her proposed European Union law which aims to attain a 40% “objective” of women in non-executive board member positions in large publicly listed companies by 2020.

EU Justice Commissioner Reding recently joined Forté Foundation’s Dec. 12th “Get on Board” event, hosted in our New York City US headquarters, to discuss next steps with this proposal, and reinforced she’s “very confident that this will be done” and will be discussed by European Parliament members who have to agree on the text.

Around the world, however, as the call for greater board diversity increases, we’re collectively just getting started.

Board diversity in the US

Board diversity continues to be a problem in the US, although America is not entertaining quotas. Consider these statistics from Ernst & Young’s corporate governance database and recently launched reportGetting on board: Women join boards at higher rates, though progress comes slowly:

  • In 2006, only 14% of the more than 5,000 corporate board seats for S&P 500 companies were occupied by women. Six years later, the number has moved marginally to 17%.
  • The percentage of S&P 500 companies with at least one female director is just over 90%, yet 10% of these companies still do not have women directors and 28% have just one.
  • Women hold only 14% to 16% of the seats on audit, compensation and nominating committees. Even fewer women chair the board or audit committee, serve as financial experts, and only 12% of compensation committees have a female chair. Read full article>>