Language is often not meant to be gender-specific. So America’s Declaration of Independence : ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal’ resounds around the world to assume both men and women. When the Indian politician Arvind Kejriwal launched the Aam Admi party – Admi, which means ‘man’ in Hindi, was taken to mean ‘people.’ But when it comes to the language around the world’s publicly listed company boardrooms, the language of equality remains resoundingly male.
Now research by the Washington-based Corporate Women Directors International (CWDI), which has been keeping tabs on female board representation for decades, shows that pressure around concerns of corporate governance and better representation in Europe has led to results. Europe has 16 of the 25 Global 200 companies with highest percentage of board members. Norway’s Statoil leads the way, with 50%.
The power of grassroots movements for change in a world of social media should not be underestimated either. The UK’s 50:50 Parliament petition seeks to address gender diversity where it really matters: in the top positions of power. Then, perhaps, Statoil’s boardroom would no longer look like an aberration.