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It is not unusual for even large corporate boards to have no women or minorities on them. In the U.S., women held 16%of board seats at Fortune 500 companies in 2012. In her 2013 book, Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg points out that this number has been flat for 10 years

It is not unusual for even large corporate boards to have no women or minorities on them. In the U.S., women held 16%of board seats at Fortune 500 companies in 2012. In her 2013 book, Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg points out that this number has been flat for 10 years—or, as she puts it, there has been no progress in the past 10 years. In Europe, of the total number of board members in Britain, only 12% were women; Spain, France, and Germany all had less than 10%. In Norway, by contrast, female members comprised 40% of the boards. So how did Norway do it?

In 2005, the government of Norway gave public firms two years to change their boards’ composition from 9% female to 40% female. Is this a good idea? Spain, Italy, France, and the Netherlands must think so: Each country is considering implementing a similar quota (though generally with more than two years to implement it).

In your paper, discuss the following:

  • To what extent it is a problem that women are proportionally underrepresented on corporate boards?
  • Why would it be advantageous for a company to have equal representation on their corporate board?
  • Would a regulatory quota be a good solution? Why or why not?
 

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