Women ‘prefer education to quotas for boardroom equality’

Eighty-one per cent of women feeling that bias in the appointment process has a major impact on female representation, but almost two-thirds do not support legal quotas, according to new research.

Eighty-one per cent of women feeling that bias in the appointment process has a major impact on female representation, but almost two-thirds do not support legal quotas, according to new research.

The survey, by Inspire, the female executive board network, found women respondents cited education and awareness as the single biggest way of improving boardroom balance (44%), followed by published targets and regular reporting (40%). 

Inspire says the survey of 365 male and female board level and senior executives shows that the majority of women in business want to be taken seriously for their expertise and not simply for being on the board.

Only 36%of women believed quotas should be put in place and 84% of women believe they personally need to do more to achieve a higher representation on the board.

A significant minority (41%) of senior male executives and board members believe the push to achieve a higher female board representation is more about corporate marketing than it is about boardroom effectiveness.

Whilst the vast majority of executives support the principal of a greater balance of representation at board level, the survey showed significant differences between males and females about why it is required and the causes of the current imbalance: – Almost half (49%) of male board directors believe that having women on the board will make no difference to the board’s effectiveness.  Some 89% of women, however, believe their increased presence will improve effectiveness.

– The majority of men (51%) think there is ‘no problem’ with the current make-up of their board, compared to 33% of women.

– Almost two-thirds of men (63%) believe low female board representation is ultimately a ‘supply’ issue, attributable to the lack of suitably qualified women

Inspire is supported by Harvey Nash, a global professional recruitment consultancy and IT outsourcing service provider.





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