I get asked a lot about my thoughts on “forced quotas on females in executive positions”(Lately by Alex from the rockin’ Scandinavian Startups).
If you want my short answer then I am against it, simply because of the word “forced” – and in my perspective it’s not just something that is forced upon the companies, but also something that is forced upon females and also (thanks to the perspective and genius of Allan Jenkins) it’s forced upon the men leaving the board.
I mean just the whole idea of a forced female is against my principles. I think we have been hunted around enough, and now also in the boardrooms -No more forced females please =)
However, I DO think that the discussion is super important because it brings awareness to a very beneficial possibility for companies – Having a lady on the board with other perspectives on the business. WOW – who wouldn’t like that?
I’m on two boards now – one of them is a regular board membership for Nohr-Con where I help them out with the digital part (adding a touch of curly hair and overall Henriette Weber-ness) And an advisory board membership at Niels Brocks iværksætterhus in Copenhagen. One thing is for sure – I love working on boards because it gives you a whole new aspect of things. It inspires me a lot -also for my everyday work-life (in Toothless Tiger.) Oh, and if anyone wants someone on their board like me – bring it on. I would absolutely love it. =)
But who wants things to be forced? I mean you already feel like you’re tied down into this room with men (mostly in suits) and you’re there because of your gender. I really hate that. I love taking initiative to things that improve internet literacy (especially amongst women – and no guys, it’s not to keep you out, it’s because I want my 6-year-old daughter to think that having an internet startup or working with them is so much more COOLER than being a supermodel, a barbie or a rockstar (and free and all things more creative), and I think the best way to promote internet literacy amongst females and make it cool is to have them meet other cool females (one of the reasons I founded Geek Girl Meetup Copenhagen who had an excellent Rockin WordPress meetup yesterday).
That’s the way I’m promoting ladies, by creating geek girl meetups. See if it wasn’t only for ladies it would just be another meetup and I don’t pride myself on doing things the usual way=). Oh and everyone there yesterday at geek girl meetup- or who has attended any of the geek girl meetups would be a terrific addition to your board.Â Because they show that they take themselves so seriously that they would spend a day (or sometimes a whole weekend!) geeking around in WordPress or drupal or together with other ladies, getting to know more about the internet and startups). Not your average geek – huh?
I don’t think that anyone will give you an easy time if it’s a forced relationship. However, I do believe that cool Rockin companies will do anything in their power to have a female on the board. They would be stupid not to. It just sends the wrong signal these days you know?
In my world, it’s all about the brand and the involvement of your surroundings. Heck, I even wrote a book about it. And if people can’t relate to your “10-men-in-suits board”, with all this transparency that companies are starting (finally) to embrace, you’re sending the wrong signal.
So get a lady to rock the board. As I see it, it’s the best way forward for your business.