IoD to support NCW on 'Women on Board'

Monday, 26 Aug 2013, 10:37

 

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Institute of Directors Malta Branch (IoD) will be supporting the National Council of Women and European Parliament Information Office conference "Women on Board" which is taking place at Europe House on September 13, citing the issue of gender parity on corporate boards as a key barometer of economic and social progress in Malta.

Europe leads the way, in 2011 the European Commission launched a number of initiatives to encourage Member States and businesses to consider gender diversity on corporate boards and called on companies listed in the European Union (EU) to introduce specific measures to enhance representation of women on boards. Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Iceland and, most recently, France and Italy are among the European countries that have adopted affirmative action measures – mainly quotas – to promote gender parity.

Other countries, such as Germany, have started discussions on this issue. The Netherlands is considering a bill expected to come into force this year requiring 30 percent representation by women on corporate boards. In the United Kingdom, the Davies Report provided recommendations on what government and businesses can do to increase the percentage of women on boards, and developments since its publication indicate some improvement. All indications are that Europe will remain the leader on this issue for the immediate future. But what about Malta?

Mr. Satariano says that culture, history, and societal norms, as well as the varying degrees of government involvement, affect representation of women on Maltese boards, however, the key factors as far as IoD Malta are concerned are the legislative and regulatory regimes, cultural perceptions of women, and Malta's level of economic development, with the most salient feature being an orientation towards SME's and family businesses in Malta. Mr. Satariano maintains that the issue of gender parity on corporate boards is increasingly gaining attention in many countries, including Malta, and he believes that the September 13th conference at Europe House will provide local women and all stakeholders with an in-depth look at this critical issue.

IoD Malta take the view that mentoring and educational programmes are central to positive change coupled to better Corporate Governance practices, and Mr. Satariano goes a step further saying that stock exchange listing rules requiring disclosure and recommending gender diversity among selection criteria for directors would support an atmosphere where women are given due consideration for their role within a board, "Provided that they receive the right kind of training. Too many people, male and female, join boards and are given no training for their role. This is the place to start, having a cadre of properly trained, and if possible, accredited and warranted, Maltese board members.You would not want a chef who has not been trained, why do we continue to accept this of company directors who shoulder significant responsibilities?"

IoD has long been a pioneer in this field with its Certificate in Company Direction. The Certificate encompasses the core knowledge and awareness that is necessary to function effectively as a director. The Certificate covers an in-depth view of the role, responsibilities and legal duties of a director, an understanding of the characteristics of an effective board, sound knowledge of financial terms and concepts, the issues and processes associated with formulating strategic and business plans and achieving strategic leadership. This is covered in a series of courses, backed up by a set of e-learning modules and leading to the Certificate examination. "At the IoD, we believe that excellence and professionalism in the boardroom are essential for business success, it's the key to sustainability and there can be no greater goal for the economy than that.

There are three stages to the IoD development programme internationally: Stage 1: Certificate in Company Direction; Stage 2: Diploma in Company Direction; and Stage 3: Chartered Director. It's time for Malta, led by its women entrepreneurs and with their astute grasp of the realities of modern business, to help Malta gets its foot on the first rung of this ladder, we will be explaining this in more detail during the Europe House Conference" explains Mr. Satariano.

Asked why he is so passionate about the subject, Mr. Satariano says, "One of my daughters spent 15 years as a board member and made a significant contribution to the value of the business, I would say women belong in the boardroom and not in the kitchen. Lethargy, inertia, and the status quo must be addressed before meaningful progress can be made in Malta.

The University, MCAST, industry associations, business schools, and NGO's have to advocate for and develop initiatives to increase representation of women on local boards. That's the way forward, and IoD Malta will be very keen to establish collaboration and support recognised organisations such as the National Council for Women in developing databases to keep track of qualified women candidates and providing networking, mentoring, and educational opportunities. I look forward to seeing that as an outcome from the Europe House Conference on September 13."

For further information about the 'Women on Board’ Conference with Malta's MEP's please call 21 23 50 75 or visit www.europarlmt.eu or visit the facebook event page at https://www.facebook.com/#!/events/678022468893588/

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