The latest edition of the RWN magazine The Country Web focuses on women pushing boundaries and includes many stories of women who are making an impact in what are often referred to as ‘male’ domains.
One of the popular arguments for ensuring that more women sit on boards is that, it is important for the creation of company values. Several countries in Europe have intensified their efforts to promote gender equality in business by imposing gender parity rules, with possible sanctions for non-compliance. Nevertheless, there are still significant cultural barriers to the inclusion of women in boardrooms.
This research, conducted by Carlsson-Kanyama (Sweden), Ripa Juliá (Spain) and Röhr (Germany), considers further reasons (in addition to legislation) to improve gender equality in boardrooms, such as different perceptions of risk and different decision-making processes.
The study demonstrates the benefits of improving women’s representation in energy companies’ boardrooms and management groups, since they improve the quality of investment decisions about renewable energy and mitigation technologies (key measures to curb climate change and the greenhouse effect). The study finds that women are perceived to be more risk-averse than men, and more worried about climate change than men.
Energy companies from Sweden, Germany and Spain were surveyed to analyse the representation of women in boards and management groups, and companies with a male/female distribution significantly different to the mean value were selected for research.
The research did not have conclusive findings, since women were significantly underrepresented and boards and management groups demonstrated a very male-oriented culture. However, the research demonstrated the great distance that Europe still has to travel to have an authentic level of gender equality in senior management positions.