Another recent survey (by Harvard Business School, Women Corporate Directors Foundation and Spencer Stuart in 2016) also addressed the still-sluggish growth of female board representation. Among other things, the study asked corporate directors to explain this diversity “bottleneck” — and found stark, gender-based differences. Female directors believed gender diversity is simply not a priority when boards seek to fill a vacancy. On the other hand, male directors (particularly older men) explained the gender-gap discrepancy as due to a “lack of qualified female candidates”.
No qualified female board candidates?!
Numerous organizations (Direct Women, Women in the Boardroom, WomenCorporateDirectors Foundation, 30% Club, Interorganizational Network, and others) are bursting at the seams with qualified, experienced and talented women who are “board ready” and eager to serve.
When boards of directors are truly committed to diversity, they grasp this fundamental point: Diversity measures must go beyond parity in gender, racial and ethnic representation; they also must incorporate diversity of thought. How? By actively cultivating an expanded range of board member skills, backgrounds and experiences — increasingly important resources as corporations navigate today’s uncertain economic, political, and social environments.