The ratios of men to women on the boards of the largest listed companies in several European countries tell a story. Among the countries discussed in a recent article in the Economist, Norway leads with 40 percent women on boards, per the quota system introduced a decade ago when women constituted only 9 percent of board memberships. Italy is at the bottom of the heap. Women presidents and chairs are very poorly represented, with 3.2 percent of the European Union total.
What difference does it make if the gender ratio is less dominated by men — and perhaps someday equal? The article notes that “plenty of research suggests that companies with lots of women in senior positions are more successful…”
Causal relationships still need to be firmly established. Moreover, the gender identification of an individual — whether as male, female, or LGBT — is likely less important than their views. Men can be feminists, too. And it is a scary thought that some women rising to the top are not feminists or in any way, “gender aware” and likely to promote women-friendly policies and practices in the workplace.
Gender ratios do indeed matter in terms of increasing the ratio of people on boards who are gender aware and who promote gender rights and gender justice. Having more women in prominent positions is also a strong signal for girls that they can be leaders, which will lead to a larger pool of young women willing and able to take on change-making positions.