The Board Diversity Charter (BoardDiversityCharter.com) has been launched by TheBoardroom Africa, Alitheia Capital, and the 2X Collaborative, an effort that will bring together the power of top global corporations and investors to establish and maintain diversity and equity in the boardroom.
As the world commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, companies, and development finance institutions such as CDC Group Plc, DEG, and Norsad Finance are working to make a meaningful, measurable, and long-term systemic impact on increasing women’s leadership representation.
Signatories to the Board Diversity Charter pledge to keep at least 30% of their boards female while working toward gender parity.
They publish an annual report on the composition of their board of directors, with the goal of increasing women’s fair involvement at all levels of company decision-making while cultivating a culture that values diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Pledge Partners are companies that have fewer than 30% women on their boards of directors but plan to achieve this quota within two years.
Gender diversity on boards is a strategic requirement, as research shows that organizations with diverse boards have superior corporate governance, financial, risk management, and social return results, all of which contribute to long-term economic success.
According to a 2019 McKinsey & Company report (https://mck.co/3D2Rmbo), companies in the top quartile of gender diversity are more likely to excel on profitability – 25% more likely for gender-diverse executive teams and 28% more likely for gender-diverse boards.
The initiative was founded by TBR Africa (https://bit.ly/3qmlzhY) and Alitheia Capital (https://bit.ly/3D6LQV9), two women-led organizations dedicated to improving outcomes for women in the private sector and business, in collaboration with 2X Collaborative (https://bit.ly/30bm2sf), a global industry body that brings together the entire spectrum of investors to promote gender-lens investing.
Alitheia is a gender-lens investing pioneer, while TheBoardroom Africa is the region’s largest community of board-ready female executives.
Two large development finance institutions (DFIs), DC Group and DEG are among the first to sign on to the Charter. CDC Group committed £1.22 billion to new investments in African firms in 2020, bringing the total number of investments to about 1,200, directly employing nearly 952,000 people.
Both organizations are also founding members of 2X Collaborative, a worldwide gender finance initiative that brings together and equips investors with the tools they need to boost the volume and impact of capital directed toward women’s economic empowerment.
Norsad Finance, FCMB, Falcon Corporation Limited, The Water Trust, and Woodside Africa Group are among the other Charter signatories.
The initiative’s inaugural Charter Committee will include Marcia Ashong, CEO of TBR Africa; Tokunboh Ishmael, Managing Director of Alitheia Capital; and Jen Braswell and Jessica Espinoza, Co-Chairs of the 2X Collaborative.
“By establishing the Board Diversity Charter, we’re telling the world that diversity isn’t a nice-to-have,” stated Marcia Ashong, Founder and CEO of TheBoardroom Africa. It’s a must-have item.
Our world’s reality is reflected in diversity. A diverse and inclusive board sets the tone for not only management, but also shareholders, investors, customers, employees, and other stakeholders. Diverse applicants’ expertise and abilities are critical to improving corporate performance.
“Alitheia is thrilled with the launch of the Board Diversity Charter and focuses on diversity in the boardroom where crucial decisions to drive profitability and sustainability are made,” said Tokunboh Ishmael, Founder and Managing Director of Alitheia Capital.
“This supports the idea that diversity is both a moral and a financial necessity. Serious businesses understand the importance of deliberate diversity for improved decision-making, stronger corporate governance, and more innovation in order to provide superior returns to all stakeholders.”
“Studies have repeatedly proved that women directors are crucial to business value development and innovation,” Jen Braswell and Jessica Espinoza, Co-Chairs of the 2X Collaborative, said. “Because boards are at their best when they have a diversity of perspectives represented, the 2X Collaborative is happy to support the launch of the Board Diversity Charter.”
The Board Diversity Charter recently released an interactive resource for boardroom leaders that offers a path for boosting boardroom diversity as well as a complete review of the business case for diversity and inclusion.