In 2016 women held only 21.6% of board seats in Canada’s largest corporations by revenue, according to the Canadian Board Diversity Council.
While this is an improvement from 2015’s 19.5%, many companies still appear to be lagging behind adding women to their boards. A 2016 survey by the Ontario Securities Commission found that 45% of issuers did not have any women on their boards. Something needs to change.
Enter theBoardlist, a talent platform that engages the tech community to increase gender diversity on boards. Launched in the U.S. in 2015, theBoardlist currently has over 1600 board-ready women. For the past six months, I have relentlessly worked closely with founder Sukhinder Singh Cassidy and the team to support the expansion of theBoardlist to Canada.
If your company needs more gender diversity at all levels, you’re not alone. While working with companies of all sizes, I’ve learned these three steps can make a significant difference:
- Visit community colleges to find potential employees instead of Ivy League schools.
- When looking to fill a position at your company, demand that your HR department or staffing firm show you at least 50% female candidates for the role.
- Be a voice for change by calling attention to the number of women at every meeting. When numbers are low, relentlessly ask what can be done to improve it.