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Friday, March 30, 2012

Women and Boards

Today’s Globe and Mail reports that the federal government is “taking its first steps to promote women on corporate boards of directors … [by creating] a new advisory council for business leaders to promote the cause.”

Figures from study by an advocacy group, Catalyst: 14.5% of directors on Canada’s 500 largest company boards (private and Crown corporations) are women; only 10.3% on boards of publicly traded companies; 46.2% of publicly traded companies have no women on their boards.

That’s a far cry from what one will find on Vancouver Opera's Board of Directors, where 68% are women (15 of 22 directors); I’m sure that is similar to many other arts and not-for-profit boards across Canada. And we’re not talking about an outmoded idea of cookie-baking, tea-serving female board members. Three of the four officers are professional women, all recognized as leaders in their respective fields. Other professions represented by women on our board include financial services, education, manufacturing, medicine, real estate and law. Others have impressive experience in leading not-for-profit organizations and in philanthropy and arts and music leadership roles.

Vancouver Opera’s board is active and committed to the health of Vancouver Opera. In our case, percentages are interesting and informative, but ultimately it’s about the entire board – men and women, professionals and civic leaders, doing their part to serve their community through service on Vancouver Opera’s - and other not-for-profit – boards.

- James Wright, General Director
Vancouver Opera

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