Advancing Women to the Boardroom

ION Women

Credit Suisse Research Institute CS Women 3000 Released

September 22, 2016 – Credit Suisse Research Institute has released CS Gender 3000: The Reward for Change, which looks at the performance of companies with higher concentrations of women in decision-making roles. As was the case in their 2014 study, Credit Suisse found that companies with greater gender diversity at the leadership level generated better market returns and higher profits. The report also found that, contrary to the Queen Bee theory, women CEOs were more likely than their male counterparts to have other women in senior leadership positions. Read more. Full Article

Network 2000 Reports Little Change in Numbers

Earlier this summer, ION Member Network 2000 released the results from their latest census of women on boards in Maryland and reported little change in their overall numbers (2014 numbers in parentheses) 

  • Number of seats held by women: 91 (90)
  • Percentage of seats held by women: 14.4% (14.3%)
  • Percentage of companies where women hold 20% or more of the board seats: 31.6% (28.6%)
  • Percentage of companies where women hold 20% or more of the executive positions: 35.5% (39%)

Women’s Leadership Development Programs – Lessons Learned & New Frontiers

A recent issue of the Journal of Management Education (Volume 40, Issue 3) included a rich discussion of women’s leadership development programs (WLDP). As the title suggests, the issue includes a review of themes from the latest research on WLDPs as well as recommendations for WLDPs going forward. The focus in all cases is on understanding how WLDPs can foster transformational change in individuals and organizations while fostering leadership development in both women and men.

This special issue of the ION newsletter will include a summary of the key findings and recommendations from these Full Article

Female CEOs in F500 goes down; Catalyst, Inforum, & Network 2000 update their leadership numbers

ION members Network 2000 (MD) and Inforum (MI) have released updated board and executive officers for their regions; Fortune reported a decline in the number of women serving as CEO in their top 500 companies; Catalyst raises concern that one woman on a board will “become the new zero;” and financial institutions sign the Women in Finance Charter in the UK, making a commitment to improve gender diversity in their senior ranks AND tie progress to the pay of senior executives. Read more

Vague Feedback May Hold Women Back, One Diverse Candidate is Not Enough, How Women Decided, and Tax Incentives for Board Diversity

Researchers find that women are more likely to receive vague feedback not tied to business goals, which leads to lower evaluations and less advancement opportunity; also a single diverse candidate in a list of possibilities has 0% chance of being the final choice (but two diverse candidates significantly increases the likelihood that one of them will be selected; and could tax incentives be the answer to increasing the number of women on boards? Read More.

Companies with Women Execs Outperform Others, GAO Report Details

femalegraphCompanies with diverse leadership, including women in executive roles, outperform others financially, and the GAO’s report on women on boards predicts parity is at least four decades away, but only if women are added to boards at twice the rate they are today.  Fast Company also reports on a new study that shows how pervasive sexual assault  and harassment is in the tech industry, and researchers find consistent and surprising gender gaps in self-esteem around the world.  Read more. 

Conscious Inclusion – Getting More Women into Leadership Roles

ManpowerGroup recently released 7 Steps to Conscious Inclusion: a Practical Guide to Accelerating More Women into Leadership. Based on interviews with 222 leaders in 25 countries, the guide highlights differences in the responses of men and women and between generations (Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers) to questions related to the barriers to gender equality and what it will take to close the gap. Among the steps the guide recommends: leadership has to own it, succession planning that challenges assumptions, hiring people who value people, and being explicit about expectations.

The Elephant in the Valley

Fast Company recently reported on a study of gender discrimination and sexual harassment in the tech industry. More than 200 women, all with at least 10 years of work experience, participated in the study. Some of the findings included:

  • 60% reported being the target of unwanted sexual advances from a superior.
  • 33% indicated that there have been times at when they had feared for their safety in a work-related situation.
  • 66% reported that they had been excluded from networking opportunities and social events because of their gender.
  • 75% indicated that they had been asked about marriage and family plans in interviews.

GAO Study: What You May Have Missed

The recent GAO report on Corporate Boards – Strategies to Address Representation of Women Include Federal Disclosure Requirements – received a fair amount of media attention for its calculation that it would take more than four decades for women’s participation on boards to match that of men’s.

What got lost in most of the coverage was that the projection was based on women receiving appointments to boards in equal numbers to men starting in 2015. That’s more than double the current average – right now women receive approximately 23% of new board appointments each year.

In addition to the data Full Article