Few women sit on public companies' boards

| Print |  Email
Articles - November 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
In the U.S., business leaders seem to favor a market-based approach. “I think quotas are crazy,” says Johansen, reiterating the importance of getting more women into executive positions. Instead of mandating percentages, agrees Fowler, companies should provide board diversity training and publicly disclose the number of women in management and the boardroom. “That can move us to where we want to be,” she says.

In September, the National Association of Corporate Directors hosted a meeting in New York titled “Move the Needle: Diversity and Women in the Boardroom as a Strategic Business Imperative” that was organized around just those themes. Featuring 100 top corporate leaders, the meeting focused on increased networking and education for women interested in board positions, corporate diversity disclosures and greater board turnover.

Increasing female board participation may also require boards to consider candidates outside traditional industry sectors, says John Becker-Blease, an Oregon State University business professor. “I would argue for an inclusive view of board composition, to bring fresh revolutionary ideas to companies,” he says. Some corporations are leading the way. Between 1998-2008, the CEO of Texas Instruments crafted and implemented a plan to make female directors 40% of the board.

Since women now comprise 60% of the MBA student population, change may occur more organically at the other end of the corporate ladder, says Lee Koehn, a corporate recruiter in Lake Oswego. Growing attention to a board’s fiduciary responsibilities is also “leading the market away from a good ol’ boys network” and toward candidates with established competencies and experience, Koehn says.

But whether demographics, corporate initiatives and heightened scrutiny of company operations will be enough to counter prevailing forces remains to be seen. And until change does occur, Oregon’s business leaders must contend with the fact that only 11.5% of Oregon’s publicly traded corporate board positions are held by women.

Maybe there’s an upside, says former governor Roberts, noting the situation can be good fodder for public speaking. “When I would give talks to women’s organizations about our successes and failures,” she says, “I would make a joke: ‘I don’t even want to talk about corporate boards.’ You can always use that for a laugh.”

Linda Baker is the managing editor of Oregon Business. Contact her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 



 

More Articles

Short Shrift:The threat of just-in-time scheduling

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Companies can benefit when they use software to meet staffing requirements and address employees' family and life commitments.


Read more...

The ancient fish that stops bullets

The Latest
Friday, May 08, 2015
hagfishthumbBY CHRIS NOBLE | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Hagfish may not have evolved much over the last 300 million years, but their protein-heavy slime promises advances in super-materials.


Read more...

5 ways successful people kickstart the day

The Latest
Thursday, April 02, 2015
coffeethumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Are mornings the most productive part of the day?  We ask five successful executives how they get off to a good start.


Read more...

Fighting Fire With Fire

May 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
BY BEN DEJARNETTE | INVESTIGATEWEST

Timber companies and environmental groups take a stab at collaboration to boost logging and restoration in Oregon fires.


Read more...

Picture This

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

As a general rule, the more people with autism can be provided with visual cues, the better they will be able to understand and manage their environment. It’s a lesson Tom Keating learned well. The 61-year-old Eugene grant writer spent 31 years taking care of his autistic brother James, and in the late 1980s developed a spreadsheet that created a series of nonsense characters that grew or shrank depending on how much money James had in his account. 


Read more...

Much ado about data-driven organizations, for good reason

Contributed Blogs
Monday, April 13, 2015
bigdatathumbBY GRANT KIRBY | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

The mega-shift from technology-driven to data-driven organizations raises questions about Oregon’s workforce preparedness.


Read more...

Nine lives

Linda Baker
Friday, May 22, 2015
0f4f7bfBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Roy Kaufmann always lands on his feet.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS