Worried About Women on Boards? Don't Be

A U.K.-government-commissioned review by former trade minister Lord Mervyn Davies into board diversity, published Thursday, recommended FTSE 100 boards should aim for a minimum 25% female representation by 2015, up from 12.5% in 2010. Unlike Norway and Spain, Lord Davies doesn’t believe in setting hard quotas. Worryingly, he doesn’t rule them out if a business-led approach doesn’t yield change. (HEARD ON THE STREET: Corporate U.K.’s Limited Gene Pool – WSJ.com, 2/24/2011)

Worryingly? The “shallow pool of candidates” is pure bunk. Directors don’t need to be CEOs or exCEOS. As I heard about the Norwegian experience last year at ICGN, brining women on boards increased qualifications. (ICGN Day 1: CorpGov.net Coverage, 1/16/2010) “In Norway, which instituted a 40% requirement, once companies had to bring on women directors they became very concerned about qualifications for directors. Once qualifications were written down, they were also applied to men. Result: golf club members down; professionals up.”

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