It can be very rewarding to be part of a Board, particularly when the sector in which the Board operates resonates with your own personal and professional values. There is a strong push for Boards to bring more women to the table but doing so depends on having women who are willing and ready to step up and participate.
I have found that many of us hesitate because we don’t feel we have the right skills or ‘readiness’ to get involved. So, what do we need to do to get ourselves into a place where we feel confident and able to put hand up for a Board position.
The first thing we need to ask ourselves is WHY? Why would I take the time, effort, and energy to get involved in Boards and Community Committees? After all, most of us are already busy people, juggling work, interests, family, home and (often) further study. Why would we take on this additional role?
The first compelling reason is that there is evidence that gender diverse Boards foster stronger connections with stakeholders and customers (particularly as more women are earning higher disposable incomes). Research also shows that:
Diversity at a Board level increases the ability of an organisation to be resilient and safeguard against volatile and disruptive challenges (and that seems to be the status quo of the world we are now living in)
Organisations with women on the Board (either equal to, or more than the number of men) financially outperform similar companies with less/ no women – and that includes profit and not for profit organisations
Organisations with women on the Board seem to apply better ‘good governance’ practices
Boards with women make better decisions and have more integrity, and
More women on Boards allow us to better leverage human capital: according to Ministry for Women (NZ), “women have higher participation and completion rates in tertiary education compared to men AND are increasingly out-numbering men in educations achievements.” (https://women.govt.nz/leadership/why-women-leadership).
Why would we not want to be tapping into that resource?! The reality is that diverse Boards just do better. (Gender Agenda: Unlocking the power of diversity in the boardroom, 2010)
(This blog is an extract for my upcoming book "Get on Board" coming soon!)