You are here: Home Knowledge Base Society Board Diversity and Corporate Governance Solutions Establish male “champions of change”—corporate CEOs who can be the public voice for gender diversity on boards and in senior management, and who can even sponsor and mentor women for ...
Symposium 2011

Solution for Board Diversity and Corporate Governance

The Challenge

The global financial crisis has led to demands for greater transparency in corporate practices. But less attention has been paid to whom the players should be in this new environment. Corporate boar ...

The global financial crisis has led to demands for greater transparency in corporate practices. But less attention has been paid to whom the players should be in this new environment. Corporate boards across the world generally have a predominance of male directors. Research shows a lack of diversity in terms of gender, race/ethnicity and international expertise at a time when “global” defines the business climate.

Establish male “champions of change”—corporate CEOs who can be the public voice for gender diversity on boards and in senior management, and who can even sponsor and mentor women for board placement.

Professional search firms conduct much of the recruitment for boards of directors. While they are always willing to provide diverse candidates when requested, they may find it easier to rely on the “old boys’ network” and assume that their clients are not interested in diversity.

Furthermore, most director searches start with the specifications of “a recently retired or currently active CEO. This default criterion limits women candidates because there are few women CEOs. But there is ample anecdotal evidence that boards of public companies are highly receptive and willing to look at female candidates.

Champions of Change, a strategy developed by Australia’s Human Rights Commission, merits replication, especially in economies like the US or Canada, which are unlikely to introduce mandated quotas for women directors. A small cadre of recognized CEOs, current and former, can create a bridge to their peers in other companies, connecting the community of women business leaders with corporate decision-makers.

Australia went a step further and asked these male “champions” to go beyond rhetoric and to promote women into senior management and board level positions in their own organization and across the business community through mentorship and active advocacy on their behalf. The male champions contribute to major research in this area every year and also act as strong public advocates for women’s leadership in the Australian business community. The strategy has been so effective that more male CEOs now wish to be part of this council and the percentage of women directors has gone up in Australia.

    Implemen- tations

    Implementation
    Symposium 2011

    Elevating Representation of Women in Leadership

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society

    Related Solutions

    Solution
    Symposium 2011

    Research and publications on the “business case” should be widely articulated by corporate leaders and advocates of board  diversity so that it becomes a more familiar context for women’s inclusion ...

    Research and publications on the “business case” should be widely articulated by corporate leaders and advocates of board  diversity so that it becomes a more familiar context for women’s inclu ...

    Research and publications on the “business case” should be widely articulated by corporate leaders and advocates of board  diversity so that it becomes a more familiar context for women’s inclusion on corporate boards.

    Business
    Solution
    Symposium 2011

    Use quota laws and enforce full implementation of these laws. Encourage greater transparency on voluntary targets and disclosure through security regulators in those countries where hard quotas are not accepted.

    Use quota laws and enforce full implementation of these laws. Encourage greater transparency on voluntary targets and disclosure through security regulators in those countries where hard quotas are no ...

    Use quota laws and enforce full implementation of these laws. Encourage greater transparency on voluntary targets and disclosure through security regulators in those countries where hard quotas are not accepted.

    Polity, Business
    Solution
    Symposium 2011

    The networks and registries of accomplished women need to be merged and made known to the network of corporate decision-makers.

    The networks and registries of accomplished women need to be merged and made known to the network of corporate decision-makers.

    The networks and registries of accomplished women need to be merged and made known to the network of corporate decision-makers.

    Business, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2011

    Codes of good corporate governance should include gender diversity as a key component.

    Codes of good corporate governance should include gender diversity as a key component.

    Codes of good corporate governance should include gender diversity as a key component.

    Business
    Solution
    Symposium 2011

    Executive search firms need to broaden their pool of candidates for board nominations and include women in any list of recommendations they give to clients. They should publicize this as ...

    Executive search firms need to broaden their pool of candidates for board nominations and include women in any list of recommendations they give to clients. They should publicize this as an advantage ...

    Executive search firms need to broaden their pool of candidates for board nominations and include women in any list of recommendations they give to clients. They should publicize this as an advantage of the services they offer.

    Business