Sponsored by Lane Powell

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

5 schools helping students crack code

The Latest
Thursday, January 29, 2015
codeduthumbnailBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

As the costs of college mount, and as employer demand for software developers soars, coding schools and classes are popping up everywhere.


Read more...

Help Wanted: Poached Jobs aids restaurateurs

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

“We thought there was room for something new.”


Read more...

Transportation Fairness Alliance holds demonstration in Pioneer Square

The Latest
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
IMG 3367BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Portland's cab companies urged city hall for consideration as officials weigh new rules for Uber and other ridesharing companies.


Read more...

Convention Wisdom

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

After more than a decade of wrangling, construction on a convention center hotel in Portland is slated to start this summer. But debate over project financing continues.


Read more...

Nuclear fingerprints

March 2015
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

At Oregon State University, a 21st century version of the bad dream — nuclear terrorism — is alive and well. This winter, the Department of Nuclear Physics and Radiation Health Physics created a new interdisciplinary graduate emphasis in nuclear forensics, a Sherlock Holmes-sounding program that aims to identify how and where confiscated nuclear and radiological materials were created.


Read more...

Imperial Palate

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Power Lunch at the Imperial.


Read more...

The 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon

March 2015
Thursday, February 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Employment in Oregon is almost back up to prerecession levels — and employers are having to work harder to entice talented staff to join their ranks. This year’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon project showcases the kind of quality workplaces that foster happy employees. 


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