The University of Ghana Business School (UGBS) in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group aided by State Secretariat of Economic Affairs Switzerland (SECO), duly launched the 'Women on Boards' report on 14th June, 2018 at the Alisa Hotel, Accra.
IFC's Country Manager for Ghana, Ronke-Amoni Ogunsulire, in her opening statement, hinted on the salience of having gender-balanced boards. She quoted a World Bank study which indicated that countries are losing over USD160 trillion due to a lifetime difference between men and women. She also pointed out that this is gradually reducing by an increasing representation of women on boards. Today, women represent 29% of directors on boards globally, an increase of 11% from 2011, with the goal of achieving 40% by 2019 still underway.
Prof. Kwesi Amponsah-Tawiah, in the stead of the Dean, delivered the welcome address. He stated that the Business School in its quest to produce competent and responsible individuals, accepted the partnership with IFC. The IFC has created training opportunities for some faculty, especially in the area of corporate governance, as well as helping in the design of the MA Organizational Leadership and Governance programme. He commended the IFC as well as the research team for coming up with their findings.
The study titled 'Gender Diversity in Ghanaian Boardrooms' was carried out by the University of Ghana Business School. Dr. Elipklimi Agbloyor, Senior lecturer at UGBS presented the research findings on behalf of the research team. The study looked into the determinants of Gender diversity on boards and whether this diversity influences performance at the board level. In his presentation, he stated that the objectives of the research were to examine (i) the nature of gender diversity in public and private sector boards in Ghana; (ii) the factors that determine board diversity in Ghanaian organisations; (iii) the relationship between gender diversity and organisational performance in Ghana and (iv) the experiences of women on boards. The findings showed that about 72% of boards have female representation. In terms of proportions, women formed 25% of the total number of directors sampled. This suggests that one out of every four directors is likely to be a woman. In terms of factors that determine board appointments, the study revealed that qualifications, experience and networks were key factors. Boards that had female CEOs and Board Chairs also had more women on their boards. Most women were happy working on boards if their views were respected by their male colleagues. The main challenge that females faced was with managing the family/work life balance. Women on boards were said to have integrity, were diligent, approached risk in a more measured manner but were likely to overly drag board room discussions. The findings of the study suggest a 'business case' for having women on boards since the findings suggest that companies with more women on their boards tend to have higher ROA, ROE and sales growth.
There was a panel discussion and an open forum to address questions and problems surrounding the promotion of women on boards. In his contribution, the Director General of SEC, Rev Ogbamey Tetteh, indicated that both males and females should work hand in hand in achieving a given target. Mrs. Pearl Esua-Mensah, Group CEO of Media General, stated the necessity for regulators to ensure a balanced representation of women on boards of all firms in the country. Dr. Joyce Aryee, Executive Director of the Salt and Light Ministry, and a former CEO of Ghana Chamber of Mines chaired the event. She reiterated the need for young women to network, as well as encouraged women to show bravery in demonstrating their skill set and to be bold in demonstrating their capabilities wherever they may find themselves.
In summary, the report calls on policymakers and regulators to develop policies that will encourage women to serve on boards. It also encourages policies to enhance the visibility of women at the executive levels.
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