While studies have shown diverse boards mean better business for all stakeholders, boardrooms and executive leadership teams continue to lack gender diversity, with women representing just 1/3 of board directors. According to the 2023 Bloomberg Gender Equality Index, progress has been slow, with less than a two percent increase in the number of women who held board seats from 2022 to 2023.

On November 16, the Council for Inclusive Capitalism partnered with European Women on Boards, Him for Her, and Competent Boards to host the “Achieving Gender Parity at the Leadership Level and in the Boardroom” webinar.

Jocelyn Mangan, founder and CEO of Him for Her, noted that there are more men named Dave on boards than women of color, and discussed how expanding networks is critical to develop more inclusive board recruitment strategies.

Hedwige Nuyens, chair of European Women on Boards, discussed the importance of pursuing legislative action in addition to shifting board mindsets. She spoke to hard-won progress in the EU’s requirement that stock-listed companies must have at least 40% of non-executive director posts or 1/3 of all director posts filled by women by July 2026, and how the remote-friendly workplace has expanded access to board opportunities for women around the world.

Ayman Chowdhury, director of programs and advisory at Competent Boards, discussed how diversity disclosure requirements of public companies in Canada have impacted gender equity across leadership, as well as the importance of diversity of experience, mindset and training to ensure future-ready board members.

Council members are working to provide equality of opportunity, and equitable outcomes for all people to use their talents and pursue prosperity, irrespective of their socio-economic background, gender, ethnicity, religion, or age. Allies such as The Forever Green GroupAVPARe:codedSEWAGender Fair, and the Asian Centre for Corporate Governance & Sustainability at the Mahendra & Young Knowledge Foundation are working towards gender equity. Council Stewards including Akfen Holdings, African Development Bank GroupAugust Leadership, GLAP EnterprisesJust OrganikSlipstream PRUplifting Women by MGAAviva, and Talent ReWire have made concrete commitments to achieve gender equity.