The Christian Science Monitor Weekly

November 26, 2018

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form companies with proportionally fewer women at the top, according to a study from Catalyst, a nonprofit group focused on ad- vancing women in business. "Women are 60 percent of global uni- versity graduates today [and] they are 80 percent of decisionmakers in an ever-ex- panding range of sectors. It's a business issue because they are today's talent and they are today's customers," says Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, the chief executive offi- cer of a consulting company, 20-first, that helps companies achieve gender balance by changing workplace culture and leadership. Outside boardrooms, investment com- panies are also pushing for more female representation. Blackrock announced in February 2018 it expects the companies in its portfolio to have at least two women di- rectors on every board. Several months later State Street Global Advisors made a similar announcement. The chief executive officer of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Mark Machin, also recently wrote a news- paper commentary supporting the effort. Martha Crawford, independent director of Altran Technologies, says this push from investment companies is an "extremely ef- fective one" because "those folks are the ones making the decisions about who is getting nominated and how [the portfolio company] is recruiting." As head of the nomination committee for Altran, she has personally felt the pressure coming from investors. "If we don't have our 40 percent women ... I know at the next general assembly, I'm going to be the one targeted by everyone else," she says. But government-mandated quotas may not find such wide acceptance. Some states – Massachusetts, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Colorado – have already passed nonbinding resolutions without notable effect. When California's bill passed, it received backlash from law professors and business groups who said the law invited discrimination against qualified men, violating the state's civil rights statute. University of Delaware Prof. Charles Elson, who specializes in corporate gover- nance, is one such critic. "It's like saying 'Gee, you can only elect to your Congress someone of a particular gender one way or another.' In a democracy, we pick the best candidate," he says. But Ms. Crawford says government ac- tion is now necessary. "As someone who studied engineering and went to top schools, I felt it was important to make it on my mer- it, not because I was a woman," she says. "But ... we looked at how long it was going to take [to reach parity] at present rates of change and realized, well, no, this is something which is too important." – Elena Weissmann / Staff RICH PEDRONCELLI/AP STANDING FOR CHANGE: California state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, speaking at the State Capitol, wrote California's corporate gender parity law. points of progress Wanted to Buy Multi-family, apartment buildings 24- 75 units Selected suburban regions Up-to-date buildings, stable NOI Direct or will work with listing broker GIVE CONSTRUCTIVE JOURNALISM DIGITAL + PRINT Monitor Daily + Weekly V FROM PAGE 18 CORRECTION A job title in the Oct. 29 Points of Progress article "Indiana cleanup sets an example" was misstated. Robert Artunian is a Nature Conservancy staff member. 20 THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR WEEKLY | NOVEMBER 26, 2018

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