The International Women’s Forum (IWF) – Barbados Chapter, is calling for greater diversity in appointments to boards of directors, as the survey it commissioned found too few women are making it into these seats of power.
Describing it as the Gender Diversity Index (GDI), the grouping found that after sampling boards of directors across the private sector, Government, and parastatal agencies, as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs), it was found that Government boards led the way in gender diversity with more than 30 per cent of those sampled having 30 per cent or greater representation of women.
According to the survey’s findings, of the 51 entities sampled, nearly half, or 49 per cent, had women representing more than 30 per cent of the boards’ composition.
“Government and Statutory Boards had the highest relative Gender Diversity Index (GDI) and percentage of entities above 30 per cent GDI, compared with private, corporate and non-governmental organisation (NGO) boards,” a statement from the group noted.
By comparison, retail operators had the lowest representation of females on their boards of directors.
With 30 per cent gender diversity viewed as the benchmark, the survey uncovered that entities with larger board numbers, had the “highest relative gender diversity” when compared to smaller boards.
The International Women’s Forum pointed out that this situation was parallel to what occurred in the United States in 2019.
While the survey did not identify which utility companies were surveyed, it noted that two of them followed Government’s trend with their share of women on the boards.
Utility companies were among the entities where women formed more than 30 per cent of the boards’ composition.
When the survey results were broken down by sector, it was found that of the 41 private corporations sampled with a total of 265 board members, some 64 were women. That represented about one-quarter of the boards.
The worst representation of women on boards was found in the retail sector where only three of the 36 board members were women.
Ironically, this was a lower representation than in the construction sector where of the 23 board members, three were women.
When samples were taken of the tourism and hospitality sector, it was found that nearly half of the boards comprised females.
In the financial services sector, of the 111 board positions, only 28 were held by women.
In Government’s statutory boards that were sampled, of the 101 appointments to these boardrooms, 39 places were given to females. (IMC1)