Women still poorly represented on Canadian boards - comprise only 14.5
per cent of the nation's 500 largest company boards
TORONTO, Sept. 26, 2013 /CNW/ - ACCA (the Association of Chartered
Certified Accountants) has made six key recommendations to help more
qualified women attain corporate board positions in Canada, and in the
53 other Commonwealth countries.
The recommendations are included in the organization's recently-released
report, 'Paving the way to opportunities: women in leadership across
"As the report found, we have a long way to go - in Canada and
throughout the Commonwealth," said Suzanne K. Godbehere, Head of ACCA
Canada. "Gender diversity creates more effective boards, reflecting a
broader range of skills, experiences and perspectives. This is
especially important as women gain financial power throughout the
world. However, too many companies still aren't getting it."
In its report, ACCA revealed that women comprise only 14.5 per cent of
the directors on Canada's 500 largest company boards.
Most Commonwealth countries aren't faring any better - for example, in
the United Kingdom, women make up 13.3 per cent of those serving on
FTSE 250 company boards. In Australia, in a sample of 197 listed
companies, women comprise 13.8 per cent of board directors.
In India, it's just five per cent.
"Organizations that don't actively identify and recruit highly-skilled
women to their boards are missing tremendous opportunities," said
Godbehere. "The global consumer spend by women is projected to reach
$28-trillion by 2014 - that's a consumer market senior leadership needs
to fully understand."
The 30 per cent rule
The ACCA report stated that "the 30 per cent rule" has been widely
accepted as the baseline level for the proportion of women on boards to
be sufficient to have an impact.
Globally, according to the World Bank in 2013, 39.8 per cent of
companies still have no female directors, and less than one-tenth of
organizations have reached the 30 per cent female representation that
constitutes an effectively diverse board.
Within the Commonwealth, no country has legislation regarding corporate
board composition. However, Kenya and the province of Quebec have
passed legislation for state-owned enterprises. In 2010, Kenya mandated
a 33 per cent minimum for each gender. In 2006, Quebec mandated that
women comprise 50 per cent of the boards of state-owned enterprises.
To achieve diversity in boards and senior leadership across the
Commonwealth, the report's recommendations include:
1. The creation of a database of board-ready (and board-potential) women.
A Commonwealth database should include women across all regions, and a
wide range of sectors and backgrounds.
2. Supporting sponsoring initiatives.
This approach will help to create consistent levels of quality in the
sponsoring process, while sharing best practice across different
3. Building a research monitor across the Commonwealth.
Lack of comparable data impedes the ability to identify clearly what's
happening in different countries. There needs to be more on the
performance of companies with diverse boards.
4. Raising career aspirations.
Career development needs much sharper integration from primary to
tertiary education. The outcome would enable female students to apply
and use their education to support career advancement.
5. Creating a media strategy that clearly and objectively demonstrates
the impact of women in senior leadership positions, to enable stakeholders to make informed
choices; this includes customers and investors.
Media visibility helps to build and retain a critical mass of women in
6. Sharing best practice across the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth has a unique role to play and a perspective to add in
sharing international and more inclusive best practice, supporting a
stronger investor and regulatory focus on diversity, including gender.
Note to Editors
ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global
body for professional accountants with 162,000 members and 428,000
students in 173 countries.
We aim to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people
of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a
rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.
We work through a network of 89 offices and centres and more than 8,500
Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee
learning and development. Through our public interest remit, we promote
appropriate regulation of accounting and conduct relevant research to
ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.
ACCA Canada has 2,500 members and 1,200 students in Canada.
ACCA is not affiliated with any chartered accountant (CA) organization.
SOURCE: Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
For further information:
Sussex Strategy Group