When it comes to gender diversity on boards, it seems that not everyone agrees on what the blockages and issues are to increasing female representation. According to the 2012 Board of Directors Survey, conducted by Women Corporate Directors, Heidrick & Struggles and the Harvard Business School in 58 countries, men and women directors share similar views on economic outlook, political and regulatory concerns, and the business challenges facing their companies. Yet when it comes to board diversity, opinions differ between the sexes.
- When asked why women are underrepresented on boards, 45 per cent of men (compared to 18 per cent of women) believed that a “lack of women in executive ranks” was the primary reason why the percentage of women on boards wasn’t increasing.
- Women respondents cited “traditional networks tend to be male-oriented” as the top reason why there weren’t more women on boards.
- Just over half the women directors surveyed (51 per cent) believed that quotas were an effective tool for increasing boardroom diversity, but only 25 per cent of men agreed.
- Similarly, 39 per cent of women and just 18 per cent of men said they would personally support boardroom quotas.
- While 46 per cent of US Directors and 57 per cent of directors outside of the US could not say that board diversity was a priority for their boards.
Which makes you think, if we’re relying on the (mostly male) Board Directors and Chairmen to drive the gender diversity agenda, perhaps not a lot will change in the foreseeable future.