Is the coalition right to force firms to disclose the number of senior women they employ?

YES

Eleanor Tabi Haller-Jorden

Gender diversity in business leadership offers opportunities for new perspectives, innovative thinking, and increased competitiveness. Our research has found a clear and positive correlation between women board directors and enhanced corporate financial performance, particularly when the commitment to gender diverse leadership is sustained over time. But the impact of women board directors extends beyond the financial benefits. A recent study we conducted with researchers from Harvard Business School found that firms with more women leaders are, on average, linked with higher quality corporate social responsibility initiatives. Transparency in the number of women in business leadership – in fact, throughout an organisation – may lead to a better understanding of how to achieve gender parity and help to leverage the talented pool of women ready to lead.

Eleanor Tabi Haller-Jorden is general manager of Catalyst Europe.

NO

Thomas de Freitas

Lord Davies’s review into women on boards has done a disservice to female professionals. In saying we should have women on boards for equality’s sake – and with the government now requiring companies to publish their gender breakdown, thus guaranteeing they hire for PR reasons not for the greater good of business – he has patronised any woman with corporate aspirations. Imposing quotas risks sacrificing quality to hit arbitrary targets. In this case, it coerces people to hire in the name of political correctness, presupposing women are not good enough to earn board positions of their own accord. Women are eminently capable and should be on boards because they deserve to be there. I want to see more women at the top not because firms feel duty-bound to hire them but because they are right for the job – in the same manner as their male counterparts.

Thomas de Freitas is managing director of Communicate Recruitment Solutions.