Graphic Business News

Listed firms poor with gender-balance boards— Study

By: Ama Amankwah Baafi & Lucy Mensah
Mr Daniel Ogbarmey-Tetteh
Mr Daniel Ogbarmey-Tetteh

A research on women on boards of private and the public institutions  has recommended to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to provide a relevant framework for companies to comply with generally accepted principles of corporate governance with regard to  board appointments.

It emerged from the research that non-listed companies are doing better in having a gender-balanced board. Therefore, it would be useful to develop a system that rates companies based on their corporate governance practices.

The Ghana Corporate Governance Programme of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, in partnership with the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) initiated the study, launched in October 2016, and was conducted by University of Ghana Business School (UGBS).

The Director General of the SEC, Mr Daniel Ogbarmey-Tetteh, noted that although several factors might account for the failure or success of many co

He said that fundamental to corporate governance is the selection and composition of boards.

“How much weight must be given to gender among the many qualifying considerations when composing a board?

“The research is a bold attempt to dispassionately situate the discussion on the extent to which gender is and should be a factor in board composition,” he stated during the launch of the report in Accra.

He said that deliberate policies were needed to ensure gender diversity.

Also, the study suggested that the Institute of Directors  should consider the establishment of a pool of talented directors who have the requisite skills to serve on corporate and public boards in Ghana.

The Institute also needs to intensify the training of women to prepare them to take up board appointments.

Purpose of the study 
There have been attempts to incorporate gender diversity into the laws of the country and to provide frameworks for addressing gender inequalities.

In 2015, a National Gender Policy was developed to re-emphasise the objective to support gender equality. However, it does not specifically indicate the degree of GD that corporate and public boards and management should attain.

The study titled 'Gender Diversity in Ghanaian Boardrooms,’ sought to raise awareness of, and inform the discourse about GD.

Some findings
The study explored the prevalence of gender policies (an established public policy for organisations for assessing the different implications for women and men of any planned action and programmes aimed at improving gender balance) among organisations.

Of the firms surveyed, 77.85 per cent did not have policies on gender while only 5.70 per cent of them had such policies.

Despite the absence of policies, 72.15 per cent of the boards had female representation, although the ratio of females to males remained low, with diversity ranging from 20 to 30 per cent.

Competence and qualification
A Management and Communication Consultant, Dr Joyce Aryee, said the parameters often used were harder on women, and that social status played a role in the composition of boards rather then competence and qualification.

“Any nation that needs to leapfrog must have women on boards and they must be playing key roles in decision-making. We must young productive women from a positive angle,” she said.

She noted that biological issues such as pregnancy, should not be used against women, because it formed an important part of raising the human capital for the population.

“In this era, information communication and technology can enable people to work away from the office. It is time to make the right decisions for our country,” she added.— GB