Should More Boards Include Women? Should More Women Be on Boards?

BoardroomThe New York Times has three opinion pieces on the subject of women on boards.  All are by women and all acknowledge that there are qualified female candidates for corporate boards, but they have different perspectives.

Catalyst’s Brande Stellings says that diverse boards are good for business.  “At Catalyst, we reviewed dozens of studies to document the myriad benefits associated with women’s representation on corporate boards. Having more women board directors correlates with many benefits, including higher return on sales; better stock growth; lower risk of insolvency; and lower likelihood of financial restatement.” She adds that there are funds specifically created to invest in companies with strong records of diversity.

But Kimberly D. Krawiec says that the business case for diversity is “weak.” While she does not expect the US to adopt the quotas that some European companies are adopting, she says that “In this day and age, there is no reason that corporate boards should remain the exclusive province of white males.”

Law professor Julie Suk sees “a way to legitimize corporate governance.”  She says that the issue is not whether there is a direct correlation between diverse boards and performance metrics.  “While expectations of economic growth and family-friendly workplaces are misplaced, corporate board gender quotas are worthwhile for a different reason: They disrupt path-dependencies in corporate governance.”