Why would a client specifically ask to be presented with female director candidates? While writing this post, I asked the Board Chair of a large, fourth generation real estate business, why he was so keen on finding a female for his company’s next independent director. This is what he told me – with permission to share:
“I went to an all-male college, and had lots of experience in all-male environments. I’ve served on many boards over the years, and I’ve found that the presence of both genders enhances the contributions that all members of the body will make. Men seem to be more constructive with both men and women in the room.”
“I also think that there are points of view that are gender driven. There’s knowledge and sensitivities that differ between the genders. When you have only one gender, you don’t have a balanced perspective or balanced participation.”
“Because women are often the primary caregivers, they are more involved in the educational process and their sensitivities carry over into housing decisions. Men may not see those things. It’s not quite universal, but on the average, women bring different life experiences to the table.”
Research actually supports this view. There are plenty of studies to quote, but let’s look at just one post-2008 study conducted by Leeds University Business School. The study found that companies with at least one woman sitting on their Board of Directors had a greater chance of surviving the downturn than companies without any women on their boards.
There’s plenty of research on this subject, but this post is already pretty long so – take a look at these sites for more data on the advantage of board diversity: