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In the Nation's Interest

CED Releases Matrix to Encourage More Women on Corporate Boards

Today CED released a new matrix of organizations that provide referrals for women corporate board candidates. (CLICK HERE to access the matrix.)  The matrix is meant to help link CED’s women Trustees and their extended networks with useful information on organizations that maintain lists of board-ready women.  At the same time, CED Trustees, members of nominating committees, and search firms can use this information to find talented women candidates for board positions.

The “Matrix of Referral Organizations” provides links to 16 organizations and their databases, provides information on each database, criteria for inclusion, and whether there is a membership requirement, nomination requirement or fee.  If you know of other organizations that should be added to this matrix, please contact Amy Morse.

CED’s recent report, Fulfilling the Promise, raised serious concerns about the lack of gender diversity on corporate boards. In 2012, women occupied just 16.6 percent of Fortune 500 board seats.  That percentage is far below the percentages of women in the labor force, enrolled in higher education, and graduating with advanced degrees.  This leaves untapped an important source of expertise and insight.  If we as a society want women in the workforce—and we do—we need to provide working women with the opportunity to succeed at the highest levels.  Without a serious commitment to bringing more women onto boards, U.S. corporations will find themselves falling behind international competitors that are getting the most out of an expanding pool of talented women by opening to them more opportunities for success and advancement.

International models and examples of successful U.S. companies show that traditional sponsorship programs can be improved by challenging senior executives, men in particular, to take responsibility for developing, grooming, and advocating for talented women within their companies.  This means giving such women the experiences necessary to become effective board members and nominating them to serve on boards.

CED encourages CEOs and boards to advocate for board-ready women. The new matrix offers many options for women interested in board positions.  As previously announced, CED is partnering with the Women’s Forum of New York (included in the matrix) to advocate for women on corporate boards.  The Women’s Forum Corporate Board Initiative is uniquely focused only on women who have been recommended for board candidacy by a CEO or board chair.