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  • Writer's pictureOn Board Women

Why getting Women on Boards matter

Now more than ever, corporations need to address the obstacles that stand in the way of women’s leadership and invest in their career trajectories. Business is better when it is led by the best and brightest minds from both halves of the talent pool.

The worldwide average of women on boards now sits at 19.7%, an increase of just 2.8 percentage points since the last study conducted in 2019 according to Deloitte’s study on the ‘Women in the Boardroom’ recently published. If this rate of change were to continue every two years, we could expect to reach a level approaching parity in 2045. While this is unacceptably slow, there actually has been a slight acceleration in the pace of change.

Women still lack top leadership positions, but the presence of more women does not mean they are reaching top leadership positions. Although the percentage of women on boards reached closer to 20% , there are comparatively few female board chairs (6.7% now, as compared to 5.3% in 2019). Female CEOs are even rarer, at 5% in 2021 and 4.4% in 2019. This reinforces the message that greater participation on boards is only a first step on a longer journey to reach positions of executive power and board leadership. This trend points to another challenge for women.

Board members and CEOs need to employ actionable plans with defined and measurable goals. Like quality training programs focused on women’s career advancement, succession planning committed to one or two women for every three candidates, or external board participation opportunities for promising women candidates.

It’s important to have women in senior leadership roles, because women and girls need to see somebody who looks like them in those positions. If they don’t, they may not feel like the organization understands or values them. This should be part of every company’s agenda to grow the societies they operate to give back this promise to the community.


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