Vivienne Cox is a Non-Executive Director at Rio Tinto, BG Group, and Vallourec. In this video she speaks with INSEAD’s Prof. Herminia Ibarra about sustainable energy and women on boards. She describes women impacting beyond individual contribution due to a positive effect on the entire board’s dynamic. This means other board members and the board in general becomes more valuable as a result of women being part of it. She also says three is the optimal “magic” number for women to be effective on a board.
The part about women starts about halfway through, at 4:20 in:
Cox: I think it’s critical to have diversity on a board. I think the diversity can come in several forms, but I think diverse voices coming together in an environment where those voices can be heard, where there is honesty, openness, transparency and there is good dialogue, then that diversity adds hugely. And I think the female dimensions is a really really important dimension of that diversity. My observation – and it’s somewhat stereotype but it is my experience – is that women are less directive. They are better at listening, they are better at bringing in others, and they therefore can compliment the discussion really powerfully, provided they’re in an environment where they have the confidence to do so and they’re given the space to do so.