Minorities, Women See Greater Opportunities on Corporate Boards

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While minorities and women are filling corporate board seats at unprecedented rates, challenges continue to impede the progress of diversification, according to the March issue of Worth magazine.

Signifying a trend that "is not just good PR but also good business," contributing writer Suzanne McGee cites the changing face of the workforce and the steady rise in minority-owned businesses as factors contributing to this evolution. Deciphering and pursuing these trends, she writes, is most effectively accomplished "by having someone who understands this right at the boardroom table."

This process is also being spurred by an expanding pool of minority and female candidates who have accrued the necessary senior-level business experience that qualifies them for corporate board positions.

These elements, combined with idealism and civil rights, "have given way to capitalist practicalities and shareholder responsibility," the column further explains. "Recruiters, directors and CEOs agree that building boardroom diversity is becoming a natural outcome of looking for the best possible candidate to fill a particular slot." As a result, some board recruiting committees are now mandating that each search for a new director include -- even be restricted to -- minority and women candidates.

Nevertheless, diversity is an essential element in a board's
accountability to its shareholders, according to Ms. McGee, who explains that businesses that are resistant to this trend will be in the minority in the 21st century. "Companies are beginning to realize that as long as they insist on filling their board seats with white males, they not only risk the ire of special interest groups, but also place in jeopardy their firms' future success," she concludes.

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