Canada's worldwide reputation for gender equality is not reflected in its corporate boards, experts say. Data released last week by Statistics Canada showed that less than 20 percent of board directorships in Canada were held by women in 2016 (the most recent year for which data is available), putting Canada well behind the global leaders.
According to Egon Zehnder's 2018 Global Diversity Tracker, which analyzed 1,610 publicly traded companies with a market cap of $10.5 billion Cdn or greater, Australia, Belgium, France, Norway, Sweden, Italy and Finland all average more than 30 percent female directors.
To reach these numbers, quotas have been successful in countries like Norway, but they aren't always the answer. Australia, for instance, has been successful at improving female representation without having a hard quota, said Pamela Warren, a partner at Egon Zehnder and an expert in chief executive succession and board recruitment. While not the leader, Warren notes that Canada isn't that far behind the global diversity leaders. That's true in certain areas.
Business law firm Osler analyzed how TSX-listed companies in Canada compare in promoting women in leadership roles. Its 2018 Diversity Disclosure Practices report found that women hold 28.4 percent of the board seats for S&P/TSX 60 companies, compared to 26 percent of seats the year before.
Full Story: How Canada stacks up on women's representation on corporate boards. By Melissa Bennardo. 14, May 2019.