Re:Gender works to end gender inequity and discrimination against girls and women by exposing root causes and advancing research-informed action. Working with multiple sectors and disciplines, we are shaping a world that demands fairness across difference.
One way to increase the number of women on boards is to ensure that more women gain the right experience further down the corporate hierarchy. That may be a slower process than imposing a quota, but it is also likely to be a more meaningful and effective one.
What most prevents women from reaching the boardroom, say bosses and headhunters, is lack of hands-on experience of a firm’s core business. Too many women go into functional roles such as accounting, marketing or human resources early in their careers rather than staying in the mainstream, driving profits. Some do so by choice, but others fear they will not get ahead in more chauvinist parts of a business.
Gender diversity supports managerial efficiency by creating a more diverse culture and favoring the exploration of different business opportunities. However, creating a diverse culture implies a critical mass of female managers. To reach this point, companies must recruit more women. They also have to promote and train women when the labor market does not supply enough.
As has been pointed out with increasing frequency, a certain group think has been widely blamed for the economic crisis we find ourselves in today. Studies indicate that women are more comprehensive thinkers and less attracted to excessive risk than are their male peers.
The barriers that continue to prevent women from reaching senior leadership in critical mass in the financial services industry and more generally–negative gender stereotyping, lack of women in line positions, a narrow pipeline, lack of mentoring and promoting opportunities, work/life balance challenges, limited access to powerful professional networks– are the same ones faced over a decade ago.