Professor Valcour Features on Harvard Business Review

Written on 23 November 2012.

Professor Valcour

Professor Valcour recommends strategies to increase women’s presence in boardrooms.The European Commission Vice President Viviane Reding recently proposed a new law that would enforce quotas of 40% for women's representation on European corporate boards by 2020.

Although legislation has proven to be a more effective way of improving the representation of women in corporate boardrooms than gender diversity initiatives, the EC quota has been blocked.

Professor Valcour outlines alternative solutions that address the sources of the problem. Notably, superiors often decline to offer assignments to women owing to concerns that family demands will interfere with performance. Furthermore, with a lack of powerful career sponsors, women are excluded from the closed networks from which board members tend to be recruited.

To remedy the gender imbalance in the boardroom, Professor Valcour argues that gender equality initiatives need to be integrated into the corporate structure from the top-down, which is currently not the case. Management performance and reward systems need to measure the achievement of goals to promote and recruit women in each department. For this to happen, a structural change within organisations needs to take place.

A Sustainable change within organisations requires the articulation and demonstration of a company-specific business case. Companies need to identify the ways that increased gender diversity will help the company to perform better, innovate more and recruit more outstanding talent.

Professor Valcour recommends highlighting success stories of women leaders and recognising people in the organisation who are helping to drive and sustain the move towards greater gender equity.

Read the full article here.


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