B.C. Forbes, the founder of FORBESmagazine, dedicated the first issue to women in business. “Forbes believes her achievements are wide,” he wrote, predicting that women “will soon sit on boards beside men.”
That was in 1917, recalled B.C.’s granddaughter, Moira Forbes, at theCenter for Talent Innovation’s annual Summit earlier this month. Now nearly 100 years later, the dearth of women on America’s corporate boards is as striking as is the need for them. Women control nearly 75 percent of consumer purchasing decisions, yet there are still 29 Fortune 1000 consumer companies with no women on their boards, according to research by CTPartners, a global executive search firm. In a time of economic turmoil and political instability, male CEOs and directors repeatedly told CTPartners that having women in the boardroom leads to better-informed discussions and more thoughtful decision-making, sentiments backed up by a 2011 Catalyst study showing that major companies with three or more female directors outperformed companies with zero women on boards by 46 percent of return on equity – yet among the Fortune 1000, there are 144 boards that have no women directors, and women comprise fewer than 15 percent of all directors.
But there’s good news: More than 1,100 directors currently serving on F1000 boards are over 70 years old. With their retirement imminent, demand is surging for a new generation of directors, one which better reflects the 21st-century marketplace. How can qualified women ensure that they’re considered as candidates to fill those slots? Read complete ForbesWoman.com article.