I was recently at a professional development day on empowering women and took the opportunity to attend a seminar focussing on non executive board membership.
I’ve written before about the issue of so few women on boards, (see Why are Women Behind? and Why Can’t Women Speak their Minds in the Boardroom?) and if you’re a regular reader you’ll know I am, with reluctance, in favour of quotas. We need a gender balance on Britain’s boards and I don’t see it changing significantly until legalisation is introduced.
Board Seats for Women
The seminar was fascinating; led by the CEO of a recruitment agency for non executive directors we were told that companies are asking for more and more women on their shortlists. It seems this is a good time for a woman to be looking for a seat on the board. The mere threat of legislation has encouraged traditional boards to cast their net a bit wider.
Which is good news if you’re a woman actively looking for a seat. Update your CV and put yourself out there. Sign up with a recruitment agency or two.
My fear, however, is that this flurry of interest will be short lived and once boards have a women in tow they’ll sit back on their laurels and tick the gender diversity box. And women won’t gain, and nothing much will significantly change as one woman does not a summer make! (Or a change in culture or attitudes.)
Opportunity for Women
But in fairness, it is an opportunity. However, a slight caveat is most boards ask for experience and that type of experience can be hard for women to get, although apparently being a school governor is very good training as is being a trustee of a charity. Another route in is to invest some money in an organisation but according to Chris Spencer-Philips, of First Flight (Placements) Ltd common sense is a real prerequisite, and women have plenty of that!
Speak Up! Empowering Course for Professional Women
If you’re interested in advancing your career, whether you’re aiming for a seat on the board, or to make your way upwards in a largely male dominated world, you may well be interested in my brand new course, Speak up!
Speak Up is Women’s Leadership Training with a difference. It doesn’t teach women how to be like men; instead it works directly with women on how to be strong and powerful communicators who get their point across without being dogmatic, aggressive or disparaged. Learn how to make men listen to you, respect your views, and become an influential figure in your organisation. Advance your career! Invest in your personal and professional development.
This women’s course is launching in November 27th and 28th at the five star Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath. Give me a call on 01761 438749 or email me to find out more or reserve a place. Numbers are strictly limited to ensure everyone gets the maximum benefit.
And if you have any thoughts about women on boards, please share them below.
Photo Credit: Michelle Ho
Posted on July 12th, 2011 by Jane