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Global Corporate Governance Forum

Women on Boards: A Conversation with Male Directors

Research suggests that the presence of women on boards contributes to improving corporate performance. Yet, globally over 90 percent of directorships are held by men. To better understand the opportunities for and obstacles to increasing the number of women on boards, IFC invited over 15 prominent male chairpersons, CEOs, and directors of listed and unlisted companies across a range of industries and countries to share their opinions on how women add value to the corporate decision-making process. They offer practical ideas on how to encourage recruitment of women to boards through networking, training, and improving transparency of the director nomination process.

The publication (download pdf) includes interviews with Gilberto Mifano (Brazil), Peter Dey (Canada), Zhang Shude (China), Ashraf Gamal (Egypt), Christian Strenger (Germany), Jaspal Bindra (India), Nasser Saidi (Lebanon), Patrick Zurstrassen (Luxembourg), Paul Chang (Malaysia), Zaffar Khan (Pakistan), Mervyn King (South Africa), Lars Thunell (Sweden), Yilmaz Argüden (Turkey), John Plender (United Kingdom), Peter Browning (United States), Patrick Chisanga (Zambia).

Focus #9 was compiled and edited by Marie-Laurence Guy, Carmen Niethammer, and Ann Moline. Foreword by Nena Stoiljkovic, IFC Vice President for Business Advisory Services.


See also:

Women on Boards: A Conversation with Standard Chartered Group Executive Jaspal Bindra (Video)

"I find it strange that owners have the guts to leave their belongings in the hands of all-male boards ..."Interview with Kristin Holter, managing director/partner at Stakeholder, and Paulina Beato, a board director and chairman of the audit committee for Repsol YPF.

Sense and Sensibility: Helping Companies See the Value of Women in the Boardroom. In 2010, IFC launched its "Boardroom Balance" initiative in the Middle East and North Africa. This SmartLesson describes the initiative in Jordan and Pakistan, which will be an adaptable model for other countries in the region.

Women and Business – Drivers of Development. This publication includes human interest stories on leading IFC investment and advisory projects from all regions, showing the many impacts of our work to increase job creation for women and women's overall role in private sector development.

Optimizing Board Effectiveness with Gender Diversity: Are Quotas the Answer? Private Sector Opinion #21, by Annemarie Durbin. The author cites evidence that using quotas to increase female representation on the board can lead to tokenism, diminish the overall value of diversity on boards, affect board dynamics, and potentially lead to diluted commitments from existing female board directors.

Diversity at the Head Table: Bringing Complementary Skills and Experiences to the Board, Private Sector Opinion #19, by Dr. Yılmaz Argüden. Diversity for its own sake is not an improvement in governance; what matters is the combination of complementary skills and experiences that members bring to the table to better address the challenges the company is likely to face.

IFC Women in Business program promotes business opportunities by assisting IFC and its clients to take a gender view across all areas of business.



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