Women on Boards: Why is Gender Parity Taking So Long?

For many years, the inclusion of women on boards has been a topic of major concern for organizations. For instance, research including studies and surveys have shown that having women in the boardroom improves the decision-making process of a company.

Many countries, especially in Europe, have implemented quotas intended to increase the number of women among boards of directors or at other top-level positions, but are still far from achieving these goals.

Quotas Will Not Be Reached In the Next Few Years

It is clear that the quota set by France to increase the presence of women in board rooms to 40% will not be reached in 2017. The same assessment can be made for Canada, where the 40% quota set in Ontario will likely not be reached by the end of 2019. This goal will not be achieved in large part due to the reluctance of organizations to implement said quotas, despite growing calls to do so.

Having women on boards is an overall positive change for businesses. However, it should be noted that research, studies, and surveys are not enough to reverse the current trend; boardrooms still lack representation and diversity. 

Women on Boards – Imperative for Improved Performance in Organizations

As mentioned above, achieving the goals set in terms of a female presence in the boardroom is not simple. It is still a long process, but increasing the number of women on boards or at top-level positions might help bring much-needed change to organizations.

Indeed, according to a study led by Accenture Research which surveyed over 2000 companies in 39 countries in Europe, Asia, North America, and Australia, 16% of the women in these companies have digital technology experience, versus 9% of the men. Yet another study conducted by Catalyst showed that organizations with more women on their boards of directors experienced higher financial performances.

For accelerating the gender diversity process among boards of directors, I have a few recommendations that would be advantageous for organizations to implement. The first would be to set specific goals by the end of 2017 and attempt to meet these targets within a three to five-year period. Another recommendation would be to review board recruitment policies and implement new or updated policies to increase the presence of women on boards. Finally, it would also be important to develop strategies that introduce more women into each level of the organization. Companies must catch up to the game!