Board Diversity is Corporate Responsibility: REC Joins 2020 Women on Boards

Who serves on American corporate boards? According to Catalyst, an organization that works to expand opportunity for women in business, the answer is unfortunately just what many people would expect. Their research shows that just eleven percent of corporate directors of Fortune 1000 companies are women and twenty-five percent of companies don’t have a single woman on their boards (“2009 Catalyst Census of the Fortune 500 Reveals Women Missing From Critical Business Leadership,” Catalyst).

The diversity of corporate boards is a important issue in its own right. Corporations, to best serve their customers and their workforce, should have a similar diversity to the population and at least to those people in the workforce. Research shows that higher proportions of women on boards outperform other companies financially, according to researchers and organizations like The Boston Consulting Group and Catalyst.

2020 Women on Boards LogoIn terms of environmental and social issues, a culture of better governance including more diversity in the boardroom can only have positive effects. That’s why REC became an affiliate of 2020 Women on Boards, a new initiative that will help define and promote gender diversity in the boardroom. The goals of the initiative are to raise awareness of board composition and increase the percentage of women who serve on corporate boards in the U.S. to twenty percent or greater by the year 2020. It may seem like a small amount, it is a big step up from today’s eleven percent.

Colleges and universities have implemented strong diversity policies, and should support diversity throughout society. With help from the Responsible Endowments Coalition and the people that we work with, they are also becoming more responsible investors. We hope that through our partnership with 2020 Women on Boards that universities can support efforts to make corporate boards more diverse, and that corporations can become more environmentally and socially responsible. Diversity at all levels from the top down is an essential step to ending oppression of all kinds and creating corporations that are more effective and accountable.

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