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The Boardroom’s Stubborn Glass Ceiling

Last year, global investment manager BlackRock sent letters to companies in the Russell 1000 stock index that do not have at least two women on its board, wanting explanations for the lack of progress. Some responses from the companies include not needing one, not being able to find qualified female candidates, and not being a consumer-facing company, said BlackRock’s global head of stewardship, Michelle Edkins. “Frankly some of the answers we got were from the 1880s,” Edkins said. Numerous studies show that companies with more diverse boards and leadership teams perform better financially than their peers. A recent Korn Ferry study also found that having more females in leadership positions helps improve employee engagement considerably. Inclusive Viewpoint: Mia Angelou once said that ‘to know better is to do better’. Sometimes when faced with well-known facts of better return on investment, increased sales and improved employee engagement associated with female board and other leadership, we find the oddest reasons (excuses) for not doing better to act on such knowledge.

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