Groysberg, B. & Bell, D.
Harvard Business Review Blog Network, 3 February 2014
Area of focus: 
New Zealand

Following Catalyst's 2013 census of women directors and executives at Fortune 500 companies, which found that female directors still make up only 16.9 percent of the total membership, the authors of this business study discuss the possible reasons why change has still not occurred in this area.

Using New Zealand as a case study, where the proportion of female directors remains at 7.5 percent, a survey found that fewer female directors were married than males, and those who were had fewer children. Women were also twice as likely as men to hold advanced degrees. The authors hypothesise that women are paying a higher price than men for the same level of attainment. Women believed the gender gap was due to their lack of access to male networks, and lack of decision-making power on boards, while men believed the scarcity of female executives meant there was a lack of qualified female candidates.

The authors believe that to create change action must be taken on the country, organisational and individual level. Using the example of a New Zealand company which recently employed a rigorous, transparent and skill-focused approach to recruiting a new board, they argue that other companies need to similarly open up their selection processes.