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|Articles - November 2011|
|Wednesday, October 19, 2011|
Page 5 of 7
The challenges facing women interested in securing a board seat raise the question: How do the men who are making the decisions about corporate strategy, oversight and director positions in Oregon view the issue? Several board leaders, including Patrick Jones, chair of Lattice Semiconductor, and Kurt Widmer, chair of Craft Brewers Alliance, declined to be interviewed for this article. Mentor Graphics, which has an all-male board, also turned down requests for interviews. Other men were more forthcoming, echoing the arguments of female board members regarding the challenges and benefits of putting more women on boards.
“We’re always on the outlook for candidates who will diversify the board,” says Don Graber, chair of Precision Castparts’ eight-member, all-male board of directors. “But we also look for people who have a manufacturing-type background and females are tough to find.”
Columbia Sportswear, one of the seven public companies with two women on its board, “has made great strides in revitalizing its brand,” says Steve Babson, chair of the board’s nominating committee. “That’s attributable to key people in the company, many of whom are women.”
To be sure, many Oregon companies are concentrated in the wood products, manufacturing and other traditionally male-dominated industries. But the list of Oregon public companies without any women on their boards — a list that includes FLIR, Electro Scientific Industries, Premier West Bank, and LaCrosse Footwear — transcends any individual sector. There is no research about gender and financial performance in Oregon. However, a growing number of studies in Europe show that companies with more female board members outperform those with fewer women, regardless of the type of industry. That research includes a 2007 Finnish study and an analysis of European listed companies conducted by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, both of which found a correlation between the percentage of female board members and improved corporate financial performance.
Decades after the women’s movement and countless women-in-business diversity initiatives, many business leaders agree on the economic and social justice value of increasing women in the boardroom. What still isn’t clear is how to make it happen.
In Europe, policy makers have decided the only solution is regulation. In 2003, Norway was the first country to establish a 40% quota of women on boards, followed by Spain in 2007 and Iceland, which implemented quotas last year. In January, France passed a law requiring that by 2017, women must represent 40% of board members on the largest publicly traded companies. The U.K. is also considering quotas.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY APRIL STREETER
Democratic gains pave the way for a revival of environment and labor bills as revenue reform languishes.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY OREGON BUSINESS STAFF
An SEC rule targets the disparity between executive and employee compensation, reigniting a long-standing debate about corporate social responsibility.
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
Studying ground-running birds, a group that ranks among nature's speediest and most agile bipedal runners, to build a faster robot.
Friday, January 23, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
The Northwest Environmental Business Council previews the 2015 legislative agenda as Hatch Oregon celebrates Oregon's new community crowdfunding rules.
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER
Fittingly, Light at Play — a business whose sole purpose is to create mesmerizing ambience — was conceived at Burning Man.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
2014 was a year of wild contradictions, fast-paced growth and unexpected revelations.
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BY LINDA BAKER
On Friday, Uber switched on an app — and with one push of the button torpedoed Portland’s famed public process.
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