Ontario

Posted: Jul 11, 2016

by Bev Cline - Lexpert Magazine - May 2016 Issue

On International Women’s Day this year,once again marchers celebrated the strides women have made toward gender parity yet voiced their concerns for the barriers yet to be broken. Although there was much solidarity, the day also highlighted divergent global approaches toward advancing women’s issues.

For example, in many countries there is a push to achieve gender parity on the boards of publicly traded companies. A 2015 survey for the Canadian Board Diversity Council reveals that although more women than ever are serving on boards, they presently hold only 19.5 per cent of FP500 board seats. But how to achieve this result is hotly debated and in some cases, controversial. Should this parity be achieved through a disclosure approach or through a legislated change that features a quota system?

The often highly vocal arguments for and against various approaches are no surprise to Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Aaron Dhir, author of Challenging Boardroom Homogeneity: Corporate Law, Governance, and Diversity, published by Cambridge University Press in 2015. His book is published at a time, says Professor Dhir, when “policymakers around the world are wrestling with difficult questions that lie at the intersection of market activity and social identity politics.”

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