Group Wants More Women on Boards Without Using Quotas

The 30% Club in Britain has a mission of getting a third more women on boards by the year 2015, according to an article published by the New York Times last week. The group was created by Helena Morrissey, a chief executive at Newton (which is owned by Bank of New York Mellon). The initiative is backed by chairmen at several companies including Lloyds Banking Group and HSBC. These companies pledged to raise awareness among senior executives about the need for more diversity on boards.

Morrissey noted in the article that she didn’t think quotas were the solution to getting more women in top leadership positions. “We want to get there with momentum instead of regulation,” she said.

The British government is also not in favor of using quotas. British Home Secretary Theresa M. May noted that improving equality should be more up to the individual and less to regulation, the article said. She also commented that “equality” was not the best word choice because it can be “seen by a lot of people as something that is available to others and not to them.”

Morrissey also pushes the notion that men must be involved in the initiative to spread the word of the importance of diverse board leadership. “A lot of these initiatives are just women talking to women,” Morrissey said in the NYT article. This sentiment echoes much of what was said in Vision 2020’s Business, Law & Finance Conversation in October. Buy-in is needed from top leadership and to make diverse boards a priority.

Can America follow the same model as the 30% Club? Share your thoughts in the comments.


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Vision 2020 is a national coalition of organizations and individuals united in their commitment to achieve women’s economic and social equality. Join Vision 2020 today!
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