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Why your board shouldn’t be cloned

2 min read


SmartBrief is partnering with Big Think to create a weekly video spotlight in SmartBrief on Leadership called “VIP Corner: Video Insights Powered by Big Think.” This week, we’re featuring Jane Diplock, a lawyer and financial policy expert.

Research and experience are confirming that the sizable, equitable presence of women on corporate boards is a positive financially as well as morally and for public relations purposes, says Jane Diplock, who has been chairwoman of New Zealand and international securities commissions. Productivity can also be increased through a more equitable gender distribution. These data points have been crucial in advancing the argument.

But a lack of objective evidence ultimately isn’t the obstacle to a greater inclusion of women in corporate governance, Diplock says; it’s stubborn or outdated attitudes and a tendency for male-dominated boards to appoint other men — essentially cloning themselves. Diplock notes the disdain and discrimination she felt firsthand during her career. Where evidence can help is persuading executives of the business case for women, even if they have no other motivation.

“It’s this productivity argument that has– is moving — some of the people. … even if they don’t even want a woman on their board, they don’t like women on their boards, they’ll understand that it perhaps is getting to the point where it should be their fiduciary duty to do that for the productivity of their enterprise and for the productivity of the nation,” she says.

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