I ran across this article at Reuters, decrying the lack of women on corporate boards.
I commented and asked whether anyone thought it possible that one reason there aren't as many women on corporate boards is that women as a whole just are not as interested in being on corporate boards.
I know I'm not interested, and I'm a guy. It takes a certain kind of person to even desire such a thing, let alone make the sacrifices required to actually get there. I doubt there are many artists on corporate boards, either, but I don't see it as, you know, a crisis. I don't think we need to research the various causes of this mysterious lack of artists in corporate boardrooms. I don't see the need to agitate and lobby for boardroom parity for artists.
There may still be some kind of "glass ceiling" effect to consider for women, but it would have to be significantly thinner and more fragile than it was twenty or even ten years ago, I would think. There are tons of women working in corporate offices. More women than men finish college now.
Not only have I never had the slightest desire to sit on a corporate board, I have no desire to be in a corporate boardroom for any reason. It sounds unbearably tedious, and the supposed prestige of such a position holds no appeal for me at all. It could never be worth all the hassle, work and stress.
Of course, it may be terribly backward of me to suggest that men and women might have fundamentally different kinds of desires. Women, in order to show everyone just how great womanhood really is, are supposed to behave just like men, now (and not just men, but the most aggressive and obnoxious kind of men). Figure that one out.
And of course, men are supposed to behave more like women, too... crying at movies, and such. My problem is, I cry at all the wrong movies; Arthur...The Shootist... Planes, Trains & Automobiles... movies women don't even want to see.
There is one aspect of the Reuters story that I find interesting, that is that this statistical study they are talking about maintains that corporations with more women on their boards, while they are slightly better managed on the whole, perform slightly less well financially than corporations with fewer women on their boards.
The writer of the article, Diana Furchtgott-Roth, doesn't like the sound of this and takes some pains to deconstruct the study and question its methodology and reliability on that point.
Which I find odd. Is it that strange to think that prudent, steady, ethical management might cost a bit more than doing things the easy way and cutting corners? If it affects the bottom line a little, isn't it worth it? A company that is more responsible and ethical will have a better chance of sticking around over the long term, I would guess. That would be worth sacrificing a couple of percentage points, in my mind. But there seems to be a myth afoot which says that good management = profits, and that if it's not good for the balance sheet, it can't be good for the company. This view dismisses entirely the importance of intangibles in any human enterprise.
If the increased presence of women on corporate boards tends to result in slightly better managed companies with slightly lower profits (I have no idea if this is really true), I don't see why this is a problem or why it would need vigorous denying. It's just one way of saying that, even in the life of a corporation, there are some considerations that might be worth more than the almighty dollar.