Guiding boards. Growing business.

Busting Three Myths about Women on Boards

In the realm of corporate governance, the topic of gender diversity on boards of directors continues to stir debate and garner attention. It is something that we as Sirdar are actively engaged in and passionate about supporting – what we define as “diversity of thought” in the boardroom. 

While progress has been made in recent years towards achieving greater gender equality in boardrooms, several persistent myths still cloud the discussion.

Three prevalent myths about having women on boards persist despite evidence suggesting otherwise:

  • “Women lack the qualifications and experience for board positions.” This myth stems from outdated perceptions of women’s capabilities in leadership roles. However, numerous studies have shown that women possess the necessary skills, expertise, and qualifications to excel on boards. We are finding more women are specialising in traditionally male-dominated sectors such as engineering and information technology. Women bring unique perspectives, insights, and expertise to the table, enriching boardroom discussions and decision-making processes. Furthermore, research indicates that diverse boards, including those with gender diversity, tend to outperform homogenous ones.  
  • “Women aren’t interested in serving on boards.” Contrary to this belief, many qualified women are eager to contribute their talents and expertise in boardrooms. Sirdar’s global network of active and aspiring directors receives significant interest from women interested in adding value at board level, utilising their extensive business and industry experience to bring a fresh drive and perspective into this space. The issue often lies not in a lack of interest but rather in systemic barriers that hinder women’s access to board positions. Addressing these barriers, such as biased selection processes and limited networking opportunities, is crucial for creating more inclusive boardrooms. Initiatives promoting mentorship, sponsorship, and leadership development for women can help to cultivate a pipeline of board-ready female candidates.
  • “Adding women to boards is just about ticking boxes for diversity quotas.” While diversity quotas and mandates have been implemented in some jurisdictions to promote gender diversity on boards, the goal extends beyond mere compliance. Diversity of thought brings about more effective decision-making, and research consistently shows that diverse boards are associated with better financial performance, enhanced innovation, and improved corporate governance. Therefore, we find that efforts to increase gender diversity are increasingly viewed as strategic business imperatives rather than merely box-ticking exercises. By harnessing the full spectrum of talent and perspectives, companies can better navigate complex challenges and capitalise on emerging opportunities.

Debunking these myths is essential for advancing gender diversity in boardrooms. Recognising and addressing the underlying barriers that perpetuate these misconceptions is crucial for creating more inclusive and effective corporate leadership structures.