I don’t get it. Seriously.
For years this conversation has taken place in our boardrooms, cocktail parties, corporate circles, media platforms, professional fora… you name it.
The last one I listened to, last week, was the same as the previous two plus decades; same arguments, same views, same issues, with the addition being, ‘do women need a quota system to be on boards?!’ Sigh.
For crying out loud, the only reason women don’t get on boards is MEN!
If a man on a Board wants a woman who thinks and acts like a man, then why look for a woman at all?
Having said that, I must say I have had the good fortune of knowing a handful of men who have absolutely no squirms nor complexes about working shoulder to shoulder with women, and in fact they welcome and appreciate the very different and diverse mindset women bring to the party.
So take a bow, I tell these awesome Men.
A woman is wired differently and that’s precisely the point. Why don’t they get it, pray tell me!
For a (regular) man on a Board, it’s nothing but a numbers game and achieving the bottom line month after month. But for a woman on a Board, the deliverable is not that simple and straight forward. For her it is not just about the share capital. She cares about the human capital, social capital, emotional capital, sustainability of the process, the business environment as well as the natural environment that affects the business, corporate harassment that goes on in the company and many other ‘how’ and ‘what’ factors that makes her company’s bottom line ring.
For a man, this is a typical woman’s rant which delays the decision making process, not getting to the point and finishing the discussion soon enough for him to get to the next boys’ club dinner.
No wonder they can’t be bothered with this trivia!
Over fifty percent of our population is women. Our economy is run because of women; it’s their sweat and tears that bring in our meager Forex to the country. This contribution itself is worth a greater consideration for more women to be considered on our Boards.
The woman knows the pulse of the people, the consumer insights, and the customer needs of her business much more sensitively than her male counterpart, with or without formal research. She doesn’t always need to be a number crunching financial wizard who spews out profit and loss figures of the company for the decision making men to lap it up and concede that the company is healthy and strong. Most often men over look that which lies beneath the tip of the ice burg of the much awaited quarterly financials, while for a woman, the softer management issues become serious pain points that need long term solutions.
So the mantra continues; women are not ready to commit to long hours, women don’t compromise when it comes to the family, women are not numbers driven, women are quiet in the board room, women can’t quite compete with the men and their intellect, women put other women down ra ra ra…
I ask the MEN, “Have you given her enough space and support within your company to be this Super Woman you want her to be at work, while being a trophy wife, a hands-on mother, a devoted daughter– in-law, who also runs a smooth home front?”
The answer is NO.
Sadly, until the chauvinistic male in our corporate world accepts that ‘Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus’ and the gender diversity is what brings the value to the decision making process, this saga will continue, with or without quotas!