Canadian Treasurer

February 5 , 2015

Gender diversity a business imperative

Toronto, ON--Forty-one per cent of attendees at CFA Society Toronto's ground-breaking conference, ‘ Getting to Alpha: The Competitive Advantage of Gender Diversity’, believe that 50 per cent of women should hold board seats in  Canada by 2020 compared with the 20.8 per cent women on board representation  Canada sees today.  Fifty-nine per cent feel that female representation should increase to 40 to 45 per cent of board seats.

Distinguished keynotes and panelists emphasized gender diversity as a means to achieving optimal financial results during a half day conference in  Toronto last week.  Throughout the conference over 250 attendees voted using audience response devices surrounding pertinent issues and trends in gender diversity. 

Over 50 per cent of attendees felt that conscious or unconscious bias is the biggest hurdle preventing gender balance at the top level, while 23 per cent believe traditional job structures and lack of flexibility in performing roles are to blame.  Another 13 per cent felt the barrier is caused by women not stepping forward into leadership roles.

"Women in leadership is progressing from conversational theory to an applied competitive strategy.  Those who don't embrace this business imperative will be left behind." says  Sue Lemon, CFA, CEO of CFA Society Toronto.

As the evidence mounts, more investment decision makers will consider gender diversity in management before allocating their assets.  In fact, 98 per cent of attendees felt that gender diversity contributes to meaningful financial outperformance, and 89 per cent will be considering gender diversity in their future valuation processes.





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