ITAC Women on Boards Registry a Solution to lack of ICT Board Diversity
Imbalance of women in leadership on Canadian ICT Boards at heart of Diversity Initiative
Toronto, ON – The Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) is pleased to announce the launch of the ITAC Women on Boards Registry, Canada’s first registry profiling 33 Board-ready, Technology experienced women who are qualified and interested in board of directors appointment. Technology executives were invited to a series of “Board Discovery Days” where they heard from educators, experienced corporate directors and thought leaders on board governance.
In 2008, ITAC recognized the importance of gender diversity in Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) companies in Canada, including a necessary push at the Board of Directors level, believing that diverse boards produce better run and more successful companies. The industry association not only encouraged their member companies to become more diverse, but they followed their own advice and brought their national board to 30% women.
When there was no meaningful movement on the issue, ITAC commissioned a white paper to better understand the dynamics of the gender diversity board debate. The 2013 white paper written by Karen Wensley, Gender Diversity of Boards of Directors of Canadian ICT Companies cited a few obstacles: CEO’s and Nominating Committees didn’t have many women in their leaderships’ network and they didn’t know where to look to find them.
In December 2015, there were 37 (9.2%) women directors on TSX Tech 60 Company Boards which is less than 10% of total Board seats; 11 were from the US and 26 (6.5%) were from Canada. The ITAC Women on Boards Registry effectively doubles the number of women directors available in Canada to serve on public ICT companies, or any other Canadian company needing technology savvy board members.
“One of the four pillars ITAC has identified to address gender diversity is the ITAC Women on Boards Initiative”, noted Robert Watson, President and CEO, ITAC. “As an industry association we need to demonstrate leadership and support initiatives important to Canada’s technology companies, and feel this robust registry will help companies overcome the obstacles uncovered in our research. The response has been so positive we expect to double the number of women by the year end.”
“It is widely understood that diverse boards are better boards, diverse boards deliver improved financial results and it is increasingly accepted that without diversity, innovation is virtually impossible,” stated Mary Whittle, Chair, ITAC Women on Boards Committee. “Canada had a poor showing on Innovation in the recent World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Ranking 2015/2016 report and with less than 10% female representation on ICT industry boards, the connection between diversity driving innovation seems to be abundantly clear. This registry was built to assist Canadian companies in finding the best talent to drive improved Canadian innovation.”
The Women on Boards Registry is available to all Canadian organizations who want to play a role in improving the gender imbalance in Canada’s boardrooms. Additional educational Board Discovery Days are being planned in other markets in 2016/2017.
As Canada’s national ICT business association, the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) champions the development of a robust and sustainable digital economy in Canada. A vital connection between business, government and academia, we provide our members with the advocacy, networking and professional development services that help them to thrive nationally and compete globally. A prominent advocate for the expansion of Canada’s innovative capacity, ITAC encourages technology adoption to capitalize on productivity and performance opportunities across all sectors.
A member-driven not-for-profit, ITAC has served as the authoritative national voice of the $170 billion ICT industry for over 60 years. More than 36,000 Canadian ICT firms create and supply goods and services that contribute to a more productive, competitive, and innovative society. The ICT sector generates one million jobs directly and indirectly and invests $4.9 billion annually in R&D, more than any other private sector performer.