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Getting more women on coporate boards

Solutions from the Global Economic Symposium (GES)

Press Release August 06, 2012

Despite years of progress in education and the workplace, women remain woefully underrepresented on the boards of companies around the world. The new GES Solutions Brief: “Board Diversity and Corporate Governance” – prepared in collaboration with the Global Summit of Women and the Corporate Women Directors International – summarizes some of the best ideas for encouraging things to change: to end the predominance of male directors and achieve true board diversity.

Simple market realities make a strong case for having more women on corporate boards: women’s clout as consumers; their labor force participation as almost half the world’s workers; and the dynamic growth of female entrepreneurship. A growing body of cross-country evidence also points to a correlation between the presence of more women in senior management positions and improved financial performance.

So GESolution No. 1 is for this ‘business case’ to 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. Male CEOs themselves could become ‘champions of change’, acting as a public voice for gender diversity in senior management, perhaps even sponsoring and mentoring women for board placement.

But where possible, there needs to be more than rhetoric. Legally mandated quotas, voluntary targets for women on boards, and codes of good corporate governance that include gender diversity as a key component can all be effective. Executive search firms too can make an important contribution by broadening their pool of candidates for board nominations and including women in all lists of recommendations given to clients.

Under the Patronage of José Manuel Barroso (President of the European Commission) the Global Economic Symposium (GES) assembles some of the world’s most prominent experts from politics, business, academia and civil society with the aim of providing research-based solution-oriented proposals for addressing the most pressing global challenges.

The Global Economic Symposium (GES) 2012, which will take place on October 16th – 17th, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in collaboration with the Fundação Getulio Vargas, will address among many other global problems the challenge of the actual implementation of these initiatives, the majority of which have only recently been instituted.

The Global Economic Symposium (GES) 2012 is being jointly organized by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) and the Bertelsmann Stiftung, in cooperation with the German National Library of Economics – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics (ZBW) and in collaboration with the Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV).

Further information can be found at and at the official GES-blog at

Organizers Cooperation Partner Collaborator
Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) Bertelsmann Stiftung German National Library of Economics - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics (ZBW)

Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV)

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