Boards Need Women with IT

Boards Need Women with IT

Sonja Bernhardt (ThoughtWare, Australia)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 7
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-815-4.ch012
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Abstract

In comparison to research on gender diversity on boards, little research has been conducted on the diversity of board skills required for survival in our fast dynamic world, where boards are becoming more responsible for IT strategy, and where skills to optimize technology strategy and execution for maximum business value are in demand. In this article, the importance of IT knowledge to overall board governance and the value of women with IT skills as board members are explored. A gender profile is developed from the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), the Equal Opportunity for Women Agency (EOWA) and the Women on Boards 2004 reports. A discussion on relative contributions to board performance is undertaken. Under the banner of diversity, research into board composition historically has focused on gender issues—where more specifically the lack of women appointed at board levels has been discussed. There is a significant volume of research that verifies the lack of female representation on boards. One example from the EOWA 2004 Census shows that for the top 200 companies listed on the ASX on June 30, 2004, the number of women executive managers in Australia’s companies has increased since 2003 by 1.8% to 10.2%, while the number of women board directors has increased since 2003 by only 0.2% to 8.6%. Additionally, 42.0% of companies have no women executive managers and 62.1% of women (but only 31.4% of men) occupy support positions—as opposed to the line positions that ultimately lead to CEO or Board appointments. This article draws links between IT skills, governance, and women with IT skills at the board level.

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