What does being on a board mean?
Generally speaking, you’ll be in the company of non-executive directors (governors, trustees) and executive directors, who work within the business. As a unit, you’re legally and financially responsible for the organisation, representing stakeholders’ interests and giving strategic direction.
The good news is that the number of women in boardrooms is increasing, but the facts remain that along with ethnic minorities, women remain an under-represented group. Hard to accept in this day and age.
Time commitment can vary – for a FTSE company, it’s often around 40 days a year, for public sector, it can be as little as 12 and even less for charities. The majority of meetings happen in late afternoon or evening so they don’t impact on other responsibilities you may have.
Good for women
When women directors serve on boards, female employees look up to them as role models. They’re a reminder that the company recognises the contribution that women make. Research reported by 2020wob shows that public corporations with women on their boards out-perform boards with only men, as measured by profitability, productivity and workforce engagement.
According to the 30% Club who promote greater representation of women on boards, the proportion of women on the boards of Britain’s large public companies has reached 30 per cent for the first time in history – although women on boards serve an average of 3.3 years, compared with 6.6 for men.
Need more evidence? Here are three compelling reasons for women to join a board:
- You will positively influence the way boards work
Women bring different approaches and perspectives to the boardroom. They talk more. Fact. They ask more questions and won’t settle on decisions they don’t fully understand. They’re collaborative and intuitive – and tend to use cooperation, collaboration and consensus-building more often, and more effectively.
- Organisations with gender diverse boards make more money and attract investment
Also a fact. In a report by MSCI, companies with strong female leadership generated a return on equity of 10.1% per year versus 7.4% for those without.
- Women make up 51% of the UK population
This deserves to be reflected at board level (as well as in politics, media, science, and a whole host of other sectors). It’s worth taking a look at Women on Boards who advertise board positions together with running workshops and webinars to support and empower women.
Joining a board can bring benefits that enrich every part of your professional and personal life.
* Getting your name out in public and boosting your profile
* Expanding your network
* Making a difference to a cause you care about
* Supplementing your income
* Chance to challenge traditional thinking
* Enjoying a higher level of social esteem and respect
The value you’ll bring to a board is captured in Female Breadwinners’ fascinating article where a study at a Canadian university revealed that female directors are more likely to ask questions rather than nodding through decisions.
The research concluded that they are also more inclined to make decisions by taking the interests of multiple stakeholders into account. At board level, where directors are compelled to act in the best interest of the company, this quality makes women more effective corporate directors. According to George McQueen, the professor who led the study: “Women seem to be predisposed to be more inquisitive and to see more possible solutions. Men [in the research] were more likely to take decisions based on rules, regulations and traditional methods. Women, however, were more likely to try new ways and ‘more prepared to rock the boat.”
So let’s carry on disrupting for the greater good.
At City CV, we understand that women’s careers are not generally linear. The skills you acquire through your life – whatever stage you’re at – are not only transferable but desirable in top level environments.
Do you see yourself as an effective communicator, able to empower your team members, and come up with creative problem solving solutions? If so, you’ll benefit from being on a board… and they’ll gain from you. If this feels like a natural next step for you, we can help you get ready for board applications.
We’re skilled at identifying the right qualities and reflecting these in your CV, LinkedIn profile and executive bio to help you stand out and get you comfortable in a boardroom environment.