Apple currently only has one female board member, Andrea Jung, former CEO of Avon Products, Inc., on its eight-member, all-white and male-dominant board of directors. Recently, however, the company announced that it was taking steps to change that.
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The decision to seek out more diversity comes after receiving backlash from its shareholders, Trillium Asset Management LLC and the Sustainability Group, according to Bloomberg. Apple vows that it is “committed to actively seek out highly qualified women and individuals from minority groups to include in the pool from which Board nominees are chosen,” as quoted in the company’s Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee Charter.
What does having more female representation mean for business? Companies that have women in high-ranking positions prove to perform better than those that are absent of female leadership. In Catalyst’s The Bottom Line: Corporate Performance and Women’s Representation on Boards report, it was found that “Fortune 500 companies with the highest representation of women board directors attained significantly higher financial performance, on average, than those with the lowest representation of women board directors.” Furthermore, the study indicates that corporations that have a female-friendly board of directors excel in three areas:
1. Return on Equity: On average, companies with the highest percentages of women board directors outperformed those with the least by 53 percent.
2. Return on Sales: On average, companies with the highest percentages of women board directors outperformed those with the least by 42 percent.
3. Return on Invested Capital: On average, companies with the highest percentages of women board directors outperformed those with the least by 66 percent.
Women have been fighting for equality long enough, and their efforts are finally paying off. In 2013, women made up 60 percent of all “computer systems design and related services” jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, which is a 26 percent jump from the year prior. Most notably for women in business, there are the many powerful female leaders being recognized for their C-suite positions at Fortune 500 companies, such as Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, Marissa Mayer of Yahoo!, Beth Mooney of KeyCorp, and, most recently, Mary Barra of General Motors. Read more about how 2013 was oh-so good to women in business, here, and see why other big-brand corporations are jumping on the gender-diversity bandwagon, too, here.
It seems, then, that Apple’s decision to diversify its board of directors will lead to promising outcomes that will satisfy the likes of its shareholders as well as its own bottom line. Hopefully the company will stay true to its pledge, just as Twitter followed through with its promise to appoint its first female board member, Marjorie Scardino, after falling under much scrutiny for its all-male board of directors. Stay tuned.
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