Something Doesn’t Add Up: Why the Lack of Women on Boards?, Part 1

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The disparity between the number of women working in nonprofits and the number of women in leadership positions just doesn’t add up. Women make up the majority of nonprofit workers, yet the majority of board members are male.


John Gerzema, author of “The Athena Doctrine: How Women (And The Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule The Future”, asks what we’re all thinking in Women on Boards: Beyond Gender to Leadership:


“So what gives? Why, amidst a flurry of discussion about the importance of gender equality, an outpouring of women’s networking and educational organizations and even legislative gender quotas for corporate boards, is there still such meager female representation at the top? Is this the best we can do? Why is gender parity such a challenge?”


Gerzema conducted a study of 64,000 people in 13 countries, revealing public opinion favors an increase of women in leadership positions:


  • 58% of people believe that if there were more women in power, companies would have greater economic prosperity.
  • 62% feel that if there were more women in power, society would be fairer.


Further research proves that board diversity, especially boards with women members, outperform their less diverse counterparts. reports that “companies with sustained high representation of women—three or more women board directors in at least four of five years—significantly outperformed those with no women board directors.”


The lack of women in leadership positions is a global issue, across nonprofit and for-profit sectors. How does your nonprofit’s board commit to board diversity? What do you do on an organizational level to promote women in leadership?


In Part 2 of Women on Boards, we look more specifically at nonprofit boards.