Women Face Uphill Battle Earning Seats In Boardroom

Women want to earn their way into corporate board rooms and are more likely to be successful if they aggressively support each other, according to a national survey of women board directors conducted by Heidrick & Struggles International and Women Corporate Directors (WCD). The survey findings were the result of feedback from 77 women board directors at 165 public companies who are members of WCD. The study cites an increase in the number of director searches targeting women across the U.S.  But, women still lag far behind their male counterparts. The 15 percent of Fortune 500 corporate board seats held by women in 2006 is an increase of less than one percent since 2003 [ouch].

Despite the slow inroads women are making in the boardroom, women do not want to be handed board seats simply for the sake of equality; they feel they must earn their way into the board room. Seventy-six percent of respondents said they oppose a legal quota mandating an increase in the number of women occupying public board seats. Almost unanimously, 99 percent of respondents said that sitting women directors can make a difference in helping their peers gain board seats. Sixty-four percent said they have taken steps to make sure that women were included in the pool of candidates considered for boards on which they sit.

Adapted from Hunt-Scanlon

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Sandra Schwan

Sandra Schwan

Managing Partner at Evolving Strategies LLC
Sandra is the Managing Partner of Evolving Strategies LLC, a consulting firm helping companies and people learn, adapt and perform. Sandra holds a Master of Science degree in Adult Learning and Strategic Organizational Change from Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Arkansas. Previous employers include the Corporate Executive Board, Lante Corporation, Kensington International, and Accenture where Sandra was awarded mentor of the year.

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