As most of us know by now, companies with a strong proportion of women on their Boards of Directors perform better—it’s just that simple. But right now, according to August 2012 statistics fromCatalyst, the percentage of board seats at Fortune 500 Companies held by women is only 16.1 percent in the United States. Among the organizations working to change this is 2020 Women on Boards (WOB), which has set a goal of increasing the percentage of women on corporate boards to at least 20 percent by 2020.
To this end, one of WOB’s initiatives is called simply “12/12/12.” That’s the date—December 12, 2012—that the organization plans to host a national conversation on gender diversity in U.S. corporate boardrooms. To understand more about this event and the organization behind it, The Glass Hammer spoke with Malli Gero, WOB’s Executive Director and Co-Founder.
In December 2010, two executives with expertise in women’s leadership decided the time had come. Stephanie Sonnabend, who sits on two corporate boards and is president and CEO of Sonesta International Hotels Corporation, and Gero, principal of Gero Communications, were both aware of the slow progress women were making in the executive suites and boardrooms in U.S. companies. They thus launched a national campaign in 2011 to try to do something about it.
“We started 2020 Women on Boards because we believed that until corporate stakeholders at all levels—employees, consumers, and shareholders—better understood what boards do and cared about board diversity as a way to get companies to better reflect the needs of their stakeholders, there would be no interest on the part of companies to diversify their boards,” says Gero. Read the complete The Glass Hammer interview.