MONTREAL, Nov. 14, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - The introduction of the "Comply or Explain" disclosure guideline in 2014 has yielded very limited progress over the last 3 years, as women continue to be under-represented on corporate boards and in executive-level positions. In response, l'Association des Femmes en Finance du Québec (AFFQ) recently surveyed its membership to assess support for stronger measures related to increased diversity and representation on boards.
The results were compelling:
- 78% of members surveyed support mandated minimum quotas of women on boards
- 73% support a 40%-50% ratio of women on boards
- 81% would provide a 3 to 5-year window for compliance
- 67% favor financial or other penalties for non-compliance with quotas
Several international studies clearly demonstrate that mandated quotas remain the only effective measure to ensure gender parity on boards. In fact, both France and Norway have adopted legislated quotas and women now occupy 40% of publicly-traded corporate board seats in these two countries, compared to an international average rate of 15%.
Progress has however been slow in Canada where the representation rate inched from 11% to 14% over the last 3 years, well below the average international rate and despite the "Comply or Explain" disclosure requirement. The AFFQ also noted that a surprising 40% of Canadian corporate boards have no female representation at all. Given this limited progress, it may take upwards of 25 years for companies in Canada to reach gender parity.
Studies also validate the proposition that diversified boards and executives lead to improved strategic decisions and consequently, improved financial performance. A study conducted by the research team on governance diversity at HEC Montréal, and based on 300 companies over a 3-year period, concluded that financial performance bettered market expectations by an impressive 6% in companies with a higher proportion of women on their executive teams.
"It's now time for truly concrete measures. We need to demand change by sending a united message in order to reach parity", stated Dana Ades-Landy, AFFQ President.
The AFFQ is now ready to engage its members, the public as well as other stakeholders to ensure that progress occurs at a much more accelerated pace and that women are finally proportionally represented at key decision-making levels across corporations.
About the AFFQ
Created in 2002, l'Association des Femmes en Finance du Québec brings together almost 700 women in the Financial sector in Quebec. The AFFQ is an established, dynamic network offering its members tools and development opportunities to further their careers and success both at home and abroad. The AFFQ is a catalyst for talent by supporting the appointment of talented women to boards of director of public and private organizations, developing services such as a mentoring program, offering professional development activities, and promoting networking among its members.
The AFFQ promotes the advancement of women in the business community and is an invaluable reference tool, providing access to the views of high-level women in finance on issues surrounding the economy and finance in Québec.
SOURCE Association des femmes en finance du Québec
For further information: For further information or for an interview with Mrs Dana Ades-Landy, please contact: Martine Cantin, Association des Femmes en Finance du Québec, T : 514 497-8253, Mcantin@affq.org