According to The Harvard Business Review, women directors lead change by making three contributions that men are less likely to make:
- They broaden boards’ discussions to better represent the concerns of a wide set of stakeholders, including employees, customers, and the community at large.
- They can be more dogged than men in pursuing answers to difficult questions (possibly because, as one male CEO put it, “the men feel a gender obligation to behave as though they understand everything”).
- They tend to bring a more collaborative approach to leadership, which improves communication among directors and between the board and management.
There is also growing evidence from respected sources that the dynamic changes for the better when there are two or three women sitting on a board. There is an elevated understanding of the business and more commitment to leading change, and generating outcomes that deliver a real return on investment.
It is also interesting to note that when there is a higher percentage of women participating on a board, there is less attachment to hierarchy and more attention on the quality of the dialog, resulting in everyone enjoying better information.
The Minority Representing The Majority
As well as the benefits outlined in the previous paragraph, the following statistics amplify the importance of increased female board representation.
-Women account for $7 trillion in consumer and business spending in the United States, and over the next decade, they will control two thirds of consumer wealth.
-Women make or influence 85% of all purchasing decisions, and purchase over 50% of traditional male products, including automobiles, home improvement products and consumer electronics.
-The average American woman is expected to earn more than the average American male by 2028
-Women control more than 60% of all personal wealth in the U.S.
And what’s more, statistics gathered by MasterCard show us that similar statistics are reflected throughout Asia, where a majority of the world’s population resides.
Seems to me that if companies are to stay current, reflect the views and purchasing trends of their customers, and lead change, the notion of female representation on boards has moved from a “nice to have” to a “business imperative”.
What do you think?