The support of institutional investors is key to driving any meaningful increase in female representation on corporate boards and in the executive suites, a new analysis suggests.
The review authored by lawyers at Bay St. law firm Torys LLP says increased scrutiny on board composition has become a growing area of focus for big investors.
“While they have traditionally engaged with boards behind closed doors to advocate for governance or other strategic initiatives, institutional investors are becoming more openly vocal about the value of a diverse board that includes women,” the analysis said of the situation in Canada.
It pointed to the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance’s gender diversity policy and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, which expressly encourages gender diversity on boards.
The report noted that the number of women have increased in recent years, but women in director seats continue to account for a significant minority.
A report earlier this month by the Canadian Securities Administrators found the percentage of board seats filled by women has edged higher in recent years.
The report found the total percentage of board seats occupied by women increased to 14% compared with 12% last year and 11% in 2015 when the report was first published.
The Ontario Securities Commission is set to hold a roundtable on women on boards and in executive positions on Oct. 24.