Women On Boards: The Way Forward

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Why have so many business leaders been slow to take notice when women are absent from their company’s boards? By Richard Branson (Contributor, Live Mint & The Wall Street Journal)

I recently watched 12 Angry Men — that classic 1957 film about a jury struggling to decide the fate of an 18-year-old man who has been charged with murder. The movie gives you a sense of how the legal system worked in the US back then, when juries were less diverse. By today’s standards, we would find it unsettling if a jury were comprised of 12 middle-aged white men.

So why have so many business leaders been slow to take notice when women are absent from the boards of their companies?

In most developed nations, the percentage of women in the labour force has increased dramatically since the 1950s. When 12 Angry Men was produced, less than a third of American workers were female, whereas today, the US Department of Labor says that number now stands at 47%.

Despite this change, men are still much more likely than women to hold senior positions. In particular, the ratio of female board members has lagged behind, with less than 14% of these positions at the largest companies filled by women, according to the European Commission.

» Read the full article on Live Mint & The Wall Street Journal.

Do you know any women on boards?

Let us know how they got there in the comments below.