Kerry Berchem, head of Akin Gump’s corporate practice, has written the article “How The SEC Should Tackle Boardroom Diversity,” which was published by Law360.
In the article, which was adapted from a post on the AG Deal Diary blog, Berchem notes that diversity on boards “has been a topic of conversation worldwide for many years.” Despite that, she writes, the statistics in the United States are “pathetic,” with the percentage of women on Fortune 1000 boards last year less than 19 percent.
Berchem offers some findings from McKinsey & Co. on diversity in the workplace and discusses the results of a separate survey on whether gender diversity is profitable. She then outlines some steps being taken by the Securities and Exchange Commission and its chair, Mary Jo White, to help raise female membership on corporate boards.
Among Berchem’s suggestions for increasing diversity:
- Adopt a model similar to one required by the Ontario Securities Commission, whereby companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange “talk about diversity or risk being delisted”;
- require publicly listed companies to disclose the percentage of board positions, top management positions and employees that are occupied by women at their companies; and
- require disclosure as to whether there is “a glaring discrepancy between [a] company’s gender diversity and its competitors.”
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