PwC Sweden: Women on the Board

Let’s face it: Women still have a long way to go before they completely shatter that infamous glass ceiling we’ve been hearing about for decades now. True, women have made major strides in the work place, but the sad fact is that of the CEOs who helm Fortune 500 companies fewer than 10 percent of them are women. Progress, no doubt, but too little, and far too slow.

It was with such thoughts in mind that PwC Sweden decided to tackle the problem head-on. So, under the aegis of PwC’s Women on the Board initiative they invited female board members from companies across the country to get together and discuss some of the key business issues faced by women today.

Launched in 2004, the initiative came about following an intense debate in the media about the need to increase female board members in listed companies.

Seminars take place twice a year, in May and November, and attract some 50 top business women from in and outside PwC. And topics range from corporate social responsibility to the Swedish corporate governance board and International Financial Reporting Standards.

The initiative has been clearly been a success. But for those skeptics out there -- and there are more of them out there than you’d care to imagine – it’s worth noting that a 2012 study undertaken by the Credit Suisse Research Institute found that Companies with women on their boards performed better in challenging markets than those with all-male boards .

In a July 31, 2012 , interview with Bloomberg ,Mary Curtis, a research director at Credit Suisse and co-author of the report, said "Stocks of companies with women on boards tend to be a little more risk averse and have on average a little less debt, which seems to be one of the key reasons why they've outperformed so strongly in this particular period,"

Food for thought!