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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Bloomberg – Women Get Board Seats Mostly When It's Required by Law

  • December 2018

Egon Zehnder's 2018 Global Board Diversity Tracker sheds light on women's progress in the boardroom.

A new study by Egon Zehnder reports that among countries that average three or more women on large company boards, all but one operate under government-mandated quota systems. This begs the question, should the diversity advocates that have been trying for two decades to sell the corporate world on gender balance in the boardroom be lobbying lawmakers instead?

“When we look at the board seats that have turned over, only about a quarter of them are filled by women,” said Cynthia Soledad, a co-leader of the Egon Zehnder diversity council and one of the authors of the study. “It needs to be more than an intellectual exercise or a philosophical alignment that diversity is good and diversity would benefit us.”

In the U.S., big companies have on average 2.5 female directors, and representation has barely increased since 2012. For boards to add more women, they’re going to have to expand the universe of candidates beyond current and former CEOs and directors, Soledad said. While some companies have been willing to appoint women who have never served on a board or been a CEO, most don’t. That rules out most women, who make up just 3.7% of CEOs among the 44 countries tracked in Egon Zehnder Global Board Diversity Tracker.

Full Story: Women Get Board Seats Mostly When It's Required by Law. By Jeff Green. 11, December 2018. Cynthia Soledad, Egon Zehnder, Chicago

This story was picked up in the Chicago Tribune: Women get corporate board seats mostly when it's required by law, study says.

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