On Board with Gender Diversity
WOMEN STILL FACE CHALLENGES TO HAVE THEIR CHANCE AT THE TABLE
The business world is a much different place today than it
was a few decades ago. When I set out to university in
the 1970s to study math and computer science, an advis-er
told me not to take physics, as it would be unlikely for
me to do well in the class and it wouldn’t serve any use to me in
the professional world. Fast-forward to my first job out of college:
I was employed at a lawn mower manufacturing company in the
sales office where I was told outright by my male colleagues that I
was to stick to order processing and stay away from customer ser-vice.
I could not speak to customers over the phone because they
would be insulted communicating to a woman in this industry.
Suffice to say, I didn’t take the advice of my univer-sity
advisor nor my former colleagues.
Today, I serve on the
corporate boards of publicly traded, not-for profit and government
sector organizations, and was recently appointed to the board of
the newly public Jamieson Wellness Inc. Throughout my educa-tion
and career, I have been disinclined to listen to those who told
me “no” because I am a woman. I am proud to be one of the many
women in the Canadian workforce positively impacting workplace
culture by earning positions in the C-suite and at the board table.
That said, there is still much work to be done.
Current research indicates that companies with the most wom-en
board directors have a 26 per cent higher return on invested
capital (ROIC). Other benefits linked to having greater numbers
of women on corporate boards include a more inclusive culture
and employee engagement, greater financial performance and
Why, then, does current research also indicate a low level of
female representation on corporate boards and in leadership
positions? For example, out of the 500 chief exec-utives
at Fortune 500 companies,
By Angela Holtham
Palto / Shutterstock.com
HRPROFESSIONALNOW.CA ❚ DECEMBER 2017 ❚ 25