Janice has been an advocate of Women on Boards for many years. We’re discussing with her why this is not a ‘nice to have’, but a ‘need to have’.
“Janice, Chadick Ellig strongly values gender parity – especially in the boardroom. Besides talking and writing about it, you’re actually doing something to change it.”
“Absolutely! Women constitute half of the global population and in the U.S. influence over 80% of purchasing decisions. Yet less than 20% of the approximately 4,500 S&P 500 board seats are currently held by women. Furthermore, ‘less than 3%’ – i.e. 30 companies of the Fortune 1000 – have 40% or more women on their boards. That is a dismal statistic. That is why, as founder and chair of the Corporate Board Initiative for the Women’s Forum of New York, we proposed a goal of reaching gender parity on S&P 500 boards by 2025. That is my personal mission and I am honored to work with many CEOs to make that goal a reality.
“When I was President of the Women’s Forum of New York, I started the Corporate Board Initiative and our signature event, the biennial Breakfast of Corporate Champions in 2011, where we honored those companies with 20% or more women on boards. With an outstanding panel of CEOs – who spoke about the strategic business imperative to achieve gender parity on boards – momentum began to build. These CEOs sponsored board-ready women for the Women’s Forum Database to build the pipeline and help accelerate the number of women on boards. Enlightened CEOs and their boards know gender parity – a more balanced board – means better corporate governance, better decision-making. They know more women in the boardroom, and the C-Suite speaks to their key stakeholders – employees, customers, shareholders and communities.
“Given the global landscape and need to remain competitively relevant, corporate CEOs and boards cannot afford to ignore half the population – especially with the rich pipeline of highly qualified women available for board positions.
“Research studies done by Catalyst, Credit Suisse Research Institute, Deloitte, McKinsey and most recently, EY/Peterson Institute, show a strong correlation between significantly higher financial performance with more women on the board. Putting women in the boardroom and C-suite is not just ‘a nice thing to do’, it is good for business and shareholder value!
“Yet, while we hear a lot about the benefits of having more women on corporate boards, the majority of boards, 97%, do not have parity. Focused and committed board leadership can make parity a reality within the decade. And compared to many countries, the U.S. is lagging – tied in 10th place with Australia – for the percentage of women on boards. We are the United States of America: a world power. We should not be trailing – we should be trailblazing.”
One of my favorite quotes: “We put a man on the moon… we should be able to put women on boards.” – Deanna Mulligan, CEO, Guardian (November 2013 Breakfast of Corporate Champions, sponsored by the Women’s Forum of New York)
To contact Janice: www.chadickellig.com
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