BROADER BIZ

05.15.13

How Effective Are Business Gender Quotas?

Studies at odds over female board members and companies’ success.

We’re all for gender equality in the workplace, but recent studies show that having more women on company boards may not necessarily spell financial success. Morgan Stanley is spearheading a “parity portfolio,” which aims to increase both profit and female representation. The firm cites research that proves companies with more top females fare much better in business. But other studies find such links may be tenuous. A 2012 Stanford report did not find any evidence correlating more female board members to more money. And when Norway in 2003 required all companies to have 40 percent women directors, the country’s firms actually declined in value because of “younger and less experienced boards.” Interestingly, Morgan Stanley’s 14-person board of directors has only two women.