Just one (1) in seven (7) board members at Europe’s top companies is a woman.
But the European Commission is trying to change this and has implemented the 40% rule.
(The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union that is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the day-to-day running of the EU).
The 40% rule means that by the year 2020, for publicly-listed companies:
1) At least 40% of non-executive board members must be a woman. (Currently only 15% of these persons are women).
2) At least 40% of board members must be a woman. (Currently only 8.9% of these persons are women).
So, should gender balance matter on your board?
Well, just consider this, Richard Branson, founder of The Virgin Group, in an interview with Entrepreneur Magazine stated that over 50% of the graduates from Cranfield School of Management (one of the top business programs, globally), were female and that in his group of companies, an increasing number of executive management are female).
That interview also revealed the results of a study by the Boston Consulting Group that showed that over 70% of purchasing decisions are made by women. These decisions include big-ticket items like cars and vacations.
These statistics are also transferable to the rest of Western countries, where over 60% of business school graduates are women and over 70% of households are being run by women.
This means that women are the major decision-makers when purchasing products for the household and beyond.
....So, should gender balance matter on your board?
Well, for your company to thrive in the present and for the future, it does.
You need a representative sample of female voices and opinions on your board, so that the entire board will be better able to understand and interpret these trends and enable your company to capitalize on same.
So, what do you think?...
...Should we wait for another forty (40) years to reach a fair gender balance? ...or do we do it now? :)
1) The Virgin Group's About Us page, accessed November 16,2012
2) Article,"Richard Branson on Why We Need More Women in the Boardroom", by Richard Branson, Entrepreneur, September 24,2012