Increase gender diversity on boards: SSGA

As part of International Women’s Day, State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) is calling on high wealth companies to take intentional steps to increase the number of women holding positions on corporate boards.

As part of the proposition, SSGA had placed a statue of a young girl close to Wall Street in New York City to represent the future. Chief executive, Ron O’Hanley, said that strong governance required diversity in board directors, which included gender.

“Today, we are calling on companies to take concrete steps to increase gender diversity on their boards and have issued clear guidance to help them begin to take action,” he said.

“A key contributor to effective independent board leadership is diversity of thought, which requires directors with different skills, backgrounds, and expertise.”

Companies with strong female leadership generated returns on equity of 10.1 per cent versus 7.4 per cent for those without, according to an MSCI, which O’Hanley said was strong indication of the benefits of gender equality.

SSGA also found one-in-four Russell 3000 companies did not have a woman on their board, while close to 60 per cent had less than 15 per cent female representation.

SSGA head of corporate governance, Rakhi Kumar said: “Most large cap company boards in these markets have at least one female director but have yet to fully embrace gender equality in their ranks”.

“We believe boards have an important role to play in increasing gender diversity and believe our guidance can help directors take action now.”

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