Amid slow progress on gender diversity, corporate boards should be required to adopt quotas for the number of women on their boards, says a Quebec-based group of women in finance.
According to the Association des Femmes en Finance du Québec (AFFQ), a survey of its members (women that work in finance in Quebec) found that more than three quarters (78%) support the idea of requiring corporate boards to adopt quotas on the representation of women.
Mandated quotas have proven to be the only effective way to ensure gender parity on boards, the group says. For example, it notes that women now occupy 40% of board seats in both France and Norway, after policymakers in those countries adopted legislated quotas. In contrast, the international average rate is 15%.
Under the disclosure requirements adopted by securities regulators in Canada, 40% of corporate boards have no female directors, and overall representation is just 14%.
“It’s now time for truly concrete measures. We need to demand change by sending a united message in order to reach parity,” says Dana Ades-Landy, president of the AFFQ, in a statement.
The survey also found that 73% of AFFQ members support a requirement that boards be composed of 40% to 50% women, 81% would give companies three to five years to comply, and 67% favour the imposition of financial, or other, penalties for non-compliance with quotas.
AFFQ is “now ready to engage its members, the public as well as other stakeholders to ensure that progress occurs at a much more accelerated pace and that women are finally proportionally represented at key decision-making levels across corporations.” the group says.