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Long term shifts are building diversity in the boardroom

Changes in perception and pipeline are contributing to a rise in women being named to corporate boards, according to an article in Forbes. The author, Laura Berger, leadership consultant and executive coach, also suggests ways of continuing the trend.

She confirms this is a positive development by writing, “Companies with more women on their boards set the tone for a more inclusive workplace culture from the top of the organization. Also, companies with at least three female board members see median productivity of 1.2% above competitors.”

The article describes the change in perception as going from “We don’t need a woman director because we are not a consumer-facing company” to more companies of all types as well as groups such as Institutional Shareholder Services adopting policies encouraging or requiring gender diversity.

As for pipeline changes, she says the old attitude was “There aren’t as many qualified women to serve”; the new attitude is to encourage business leaders to disclose how many women are in the pipeline toward board membership.

The article says, “Another development is the Bloomberg launch of its 2019 Gender-Equality Index recognizing companies ‘committed to transparency in gender reporting and advancing women’s equality in the workplace.’”

In 2019, 230 companies made the list, double the number named last year.

“For all these wonderful developments to cascade in an even more positive direction, company leaders, of course, need to take ownership of gender diversity, not only by appointing more women to boards but also by implementing more rigorous inclusivity practices to combat biases,” the article concludes.

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