You are here: Home Knowledge Base Society Implementing Board Diversity Proposals Creation of voluntary actions to promote MNCT (mentoring, networking, coaching and training) to insert women in boardrooms
Symposium 2012

Proposal - Creation of voluntary actions to promote MNCT (mentoring, networking, coaching and training) to insert women in boardrooms

The Challenge

In the wake of the global crisis, there is clear momentum towards changing the way that business is conducted—whether in the form of increased regulations, greater accountability or changing corpora ...

In the wake of the global crisis, there is clear momentum towards changing the way that business is conducted—whether in the form of increased regulations, greater accountability or changing corporate leadership. Such initiatives include changing the composition of corporate boards to include more women. What progress has been made on these initiatives and what would make them more effective?

Create incentives for agreements between institutions (public, private and non-profit organizations) in order to promote mentoring, networking, coaching and training (if and when needed) involving women to provide all the necessary tools for their insertion on the boards.

The inequality in the number of women comparing with the number of men on boards is partly a result of gender discrimination. Research has shown that the inclusion of only one woman on the board is able to break paradigms and potential prejudices, creating a potentially contagious effect to insert new women on boards of directors.

Even if there is no gender discrimination, men holds some tools for their development and integration in the board that women do not have. This solution aims to compensate the absence of these tools for women who want to be a board member. These are the tools:

Mentoring: The vast majority of executives and board directors is composed of men, and abundant models in which men who aspire to these positions can be mirrored. Moreover, the participation of women in these positions is very small, which is why missing models that serve as an inspiration to women who want these positions. Mentoring exclusive for women are designed to fill this gap and provide another tool to stimulate the inclusion of women, since men already have such incentives naturally.

Networking: Entering the boards depends in large amounts of personal network, not strictly following technical aspects in the selection of a member. Given this reality, it is necessary that women also integrate a network of contacts that allows them to be known, show your strengths and skills, giving them greater visibility and therefore more likely to be considered for a nomination to executive positions and seats on boards.

Coaching: is a set of techniques where a professional coach gives support to the coachee in order to achieve a specific goal, such as improving professional and personal’s performance. The coach encourages reflection and analysis of the coachee’s options and abilities, as well as incentives the improvement and acquisition of new skills. Thus, the coachee acquires more knowledge about themselves and their goals, and consequently, greater security and motivation to take on the challenges of their professional growth. This practice is widespread among men, which facilitates their inclusion in executive positions. Due to the importance of this tool, its relationship with the executive direction and dissemination of professional skills of the coachee, this technique should be more widespread among women in order to equalize opportunities between genders. Therefore, the expansion of coaching activities are needed to involve executive women, especially for guiding decisions about the balance between professional and personal life, often impaired by demands in caring for children.

Training: the little insertion of women on boards is often justified by their lack of knowledge and skills appropriate to the function. Because of this, research has shown that the appointment of a woman with no experience on boards is considered risky, while the same situation does not repeat itself when it comes to a man in the same circumstances. That is, women need to prove your experience more than men, although the former ones are generally more qualified than the later. Thus, training can be used, when necessary, as a tool to prepare both men and women who aspire to seats on boards.

All these measures are essential for the insertion of women executives on the boards and are part of their day-to-day. Such measures should be aimed at a female audience, since they lack: role models (mentoring), integration in a network of strategic contacts (networking), professional guidance and motivation (coaching) and training, when needed (training). These measures may not be sufficient alone, so it is advisable to implement them together.

In order to achieve this goal, various institutions (e.g. associations, stock exchanges, companies, non-governmental and supranational organizations) can come together and, along with the public sector, disseminate such voluntary practices aimed at women. Some institutions are already involved to some extent of this initiative. Internationally, we can quote institutions such as the Professional Women's Network, Women on Boards and, in Brazil, the Brazilian Institute of Corporate Governance (IBGC) and the Brazilian Institute of Finance Executives of São Paulo (IBEF) Woman.

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