NEW YORK, Feb. 28, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As organizations and individuals across the globe recognize International Women's Day on March 8 (#BeBoldForChange), the WomenCorporateDirectors Foundation (WCD) marks the key strides women have made in boardrooms globally, driven by the work of WCD.
"'Be bold for change' is the theme for this year's International Women's Day, and WCD is boldly transforming governance around the world," says Susan Stautberg, CEO and chairman of WCD, the largest network of women board members. "The collective power of WCD and our allies in C-suites, on boards, and in the public sector has strengthened the influence of women in boardrooms in every major business region."
Milestones for women in boardrooms
The rapid growth of WCD – now 75 chapters globally with 3,500+ members on more than 6,000 corporate boards – represents the increasing demand among women directors for a peer network as well as a broader push toward board diversity, even in regions such Asia and Latin America that have traditionally had low numbers of women on boards.
Key milestones around boardrooms admitting more women, driven by WCD's efforts, include:
Japan – Inspiring top levels of government. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has acknowledged WCD member Kathy Matsui, Goldman Sachs' Chief Japan Strategist, as a key influencer of his government's workforce policies. The WCD Japan chapter, which numbers more than 100 members, is working with the government on a program to get more women onto boards by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Italy – Driving change through legislation. More so than in other regions, European governments have adopted gender quotas as an instrument for increasing the number of women on boards, with Norway, Spain, and France instituting some of the earlier policies. In Italy, WCD members worked with the Italian government to draft legislation requiring companies to target 1/3 of their board seats for women – a change that went into effect in 2011. WCD members in the two WCD chapters there (Rome and Milan) serve on boards representing over 35% of the market capitalization in the country.
India – Expanding growing network of women board members. The number of women board members in India has doubled over the past six years. Opening chapters in both Delhi and Mumbai, WCD has pushed for greater adoption of governance best practices, including board diversity, for public companies. WCD members helped craft legislation in India as well, mandating three independent directors on every public company board and the requirement that one director must be a woman.
Latin America – Pushing for diversity as companies get more global. While the numbers of women on boards in the region have risen slowly, some of WCD's fastest growing chapters are in Latin America, especially Brazil, which offers a training course for new directors. As companies there go global and seek access to foreign capital and markets, diversity is placed higher on the agenda. On March 22, WCD members will open the Santiago Stock Exchange – the first time that a women's group will ring the opening bell in Chile.
Kenya – Leveraging partnerships for board education. WCD's Kenya chapter, which launched in early 2015, has employed key strategic partnerships to help make strides in providing mentorship and training for directors in the country. Working with Strathmore Business School (the leading business school in East Africa), Cranfield University in England, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), WCD has developed a three-week course for equipping C-suite women for the boardroom.
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About WomenCorporateDirectors Education and Development Foundation, Inc.
The WomenCorporateDirectors Education and Development Foundation, Inc. (WCD Foundation) is the only global membership organization and community of women corporate directors. A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, the WCD Foundation has 75 chapters around the world. The aggregate market capitalization of public companies on whose boards WCD members serve is over $8 trillion. In addition, WCD Foundation members serve on numerous boards of large private and family-run companies globally. For more information, visit www.womencorporatedirectors.com or follow us on Twitter @WomenCorpDirs, #WCDboards.
SOURCE WomenCorporateDirectors Education and Development Foundation, Inc.