Gender quotas should be a last resort to increase the number
of women directors on New Zealand company boards, the
Institute of Directors says.
Chief executive William Whittaker said the institute would
not discount gender quotas but considered them a last resort.
The institute promoted diversity in all forms but would like
to see voluntary practices undertaken.
''There are better ways to increase women's representation on
boards than introducing quotas.''
The number of women on boards was expected to grow at a
faster rate due to greater awareness of the issue and the
impact of initiatives already in place to increase
representation of women on boards, he said.
''There is greater understanding that improving board
diversity isn't just about equality but about how board
diversity actually helps improve board performance -
particularly bottom-line financial performance.''
The institute, supported by the Global Network of Director
Institutes, which represented more than 100,000 directors
worldwide, did not support legislating for quota systems, Dr
Quota regimes had tended to force boards to appoint women who
were not necessarily the best candidates. Evidence from
overseas had not proved putting quantitative requirements in
place resulted in better organisational performance.
The Global Network of Director Institutes preferred other
measures, including:Board nomination or governance committees
could set a good example through their commitment to
Companies should develop their own diversity policies and
report to shareholders on progress.
Companies should consider their executive talent management
programmes and integrate principles and practice.
Boards should widen their approach when making appointments
to non-executive positions.
Board evaluation should be used to assist in the development
of more diverse boards.