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Getting women on board

Getting women on board

Strategies and approaches

As an executive leader, what can you do to encourage more women on your boards?

The following practical ideas will demonstrate that you and your organisation are serious about having more women participating in decision making at the board table.

  • Actively look for women nominees – appropriately skilled women are often out there, but sometimes an effort must be made to find them. The BIOSS methodology has a tool to ensure qualified assessment with a 92% validity.

  • Publicly support women’s leadership and communicate the benefits of a diverse board.

  • Implement programs, or scholarships, which allow women to obtain relevant skills and qualifications to enter executive positions and to serve on boards.

  • Request equal numbers of male and female nominees when board vacancies arise.

  • Set up a structured mentoring or shadowing scheme for emerging women leaders so they can develop self-confidence, skills, knowledge of the relevant industry, and appropriate networks.

  • The board itself needs to be publicly supportive of women in leadership – it is the board which sets the tone for corporate culture.

  • When vacancies arise, take the opportunity to review the board in order to assess whether a new appointment opens an opportunity to diversify the board. Appraise existing knowledge and experience, identify skills gaps, and develop selection criteria that enable recruitment from a large pool of candidates.

  • Set up an induction scheme to ensure all board members are able to fully participate in board business.

  • Don’t make ’tokenistic’ appointments. Ensure appointments are merit based, transparent, and made by an independent committee. A more formal process circumvents the ‘old boys’ network’, which can also have positive ramifications for board process and corporate governance.

  • Run a networking event or presentation that profiles a woman leader in your organisation or industry. Invite senior male and female executives, board members and emerging leaders.

  • Organise a cross-government or cross-industry forum for executive and non-executive directors to discuss gender equity on boards, and strategies to achieve this.

  • Include achievable goals in strategic plans and managers’ performance indicators to ensure gender equity outcomes. The BIOSS methodology is the only scientific proven method to adequately set the goals and determine the levels of work needed for members of the Board, completely gender neutral, to attend to. BIOSS professionals can guide you through this process.


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