Gender Diversity On Corporate Boards, Against Time

By Nethani Palmani | Mar 08, 2017 08:12 AM EST

The current generation of employees may not live to see gender diversity on U.S. corporate boards. While the efforts are going against time, lawyers need to start caring about diversity as it trickles down to the entire company and all its department, including legal.

There are currently 19 Fortune 500 companies with all-male boards and only 20.2% of Fortune 500 board seats are held by women while more than half of these women have management occupations. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Equilar Gender Diversity Index (GDI), another 40 to 100 years will be realistically needed for gender diversity to be fully manifested on American corporate boards.

Much of the causes of this inequality is known. GAO and other studies reached a conclusion that historic lack of diversity on corporate boards largely come from the lack of board term limits, narrow-minded recruiting practices, and tendency to recruit within the "old boys' network."

While excuses for these tendencies have been debunked, some assert that there are not enough qualified women. It is true that not all women are qualified for board service, as with men, but the fact that some women are more qualified than others cannot be neglected.

In fact, there are numerous other studies that suggest women and board diversity in general, may increase shareholders' long-term returns, according to Above The Law. With no chance of endangering shareholders' long-term returns, there's simply no excuse for clinging to outdated and spineless tradition, and for not taking action toward gender diversity on boards.

Instead of waiting for another 40 to 100 years for gender diversity on boards, companies should begin actively recruiting women to serve on their boards of directors. It is a real and necessary progress that will benefit both companies and society as a whole.

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