Philly councilwoman joins push for adding women to corporate top tier

    A Philadelphia politician wants to require that companies hoping to do business with the city disclose how many women executives and board members they have. 

    City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown said the bill is the product of a great deal of number crunching.

    “Less than — I repeat — less than 1 percent of boards in the city of Philadelphia have women of color sitting on their boards,” said Reynolds Brown.   She added that women make up 11% of local executive baords.  “36 of the largest companies in the region, have no women sitting on their board.  Zero.”

    That status quo, she said, is unacceptable.

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    It’s in a company’s self-interest to have women on its board, says Autumn Bayles, the president of the Forum of Executive Women.

    “We feel that more diversity can only bring better things, in terms of different thoughts,” she said.

    Since women make a majority of purchasing decisions, Bayles said, “if you’re a company that sells products to women, you want to make sure you have that consumer perspective reflected in your management team.” 

    The “30 Percent Coalition” is trying to boost women’s board membership nationwide to 30 percent by 2015. 

    Coalition president Vicki Kramer, who said recruiting can be easier for larger companies that use search firms to increase the pool of candidates, said many smaller companies rely on current board members to find new colleagues.

    “When you get to areas like Philadelphia, or other geographic areas around the country, where there are not as many Fortune 500 companies and you have smaller companies in the top 100, the number of women on the board seems to go down,” Kramer said.

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