Most people today have no knowledge about the makeup of corporate boards, even in the companies they work for. These stakeholders would be surprised to realize how little diversity of thought and experience exists in the corporate boardrooms and executive suites of American businesses.
Why should you care about board composition? In short, boards of directors make decisions that can impact you and a lot of other people: employees, shareholders, consumers, and communities. That’s why it’s important that corporate boards represent their various constituencies in all their diversity. The Board chooses the CEO, and together they decide executive compensation, whether to buy, sell, or merge with another company, where facilities close and relocate, and how much priority the company gives to issues other than profits, such as social responsibility. Good corporate decision-making requires diversity of thought, which comes from people who have different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.
Women hold just a small number of corporate board seats. In Fortune 1000 companies, 14.6% of corporate directors are women. But consider this: women comprise about half of the total U.S. workforce; over half of all managers are women; women are responsible for almost 80% of all consumer spending; and there are over 10 million majority-owned, privately-held, women-owned firms in the U.S., employing over 18 million people and generating $2.32 trillion in sales.
It’s time that companies took advantage of this untapped pool of qualified board candidates. It’s time that we increased the number of women who serve on corporate boards.
Together we can make it happen.