Women are still disproportionately under-represented in the boardrooms of Canadian businesses but more companies are moving toward greater gender parity, says one of the few female CEOs overseeing a company today.
The securities regulatory authorities in Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan looked at 641 public companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange that are required to disclose information in public company financial reports.
The agencies found that only four per cent of the chief executive officers (CEOs) and five per cent of board chairs were women — Danielle Favreau is one of them.
“It’s challenging but also rewarding and fulfilling,” Favreau, the chief financial officer and interim CEO of Karnalyte Resources, said. “There’s always something new to deal with.”
- Just over 70 per cent of the companies surveyed had at least one woman on their board.
- There were no women at all found on the boards of 170 other businesses.
- Five companies listed on the TSX have a head office in Saskatchewan.
- Twenty-two per cent of the companies surveyed said they adopted targets for the representation of women on their board.
- Three per cent said they adopted targets for the representation of women in executive officer positions.
Karnalye Resources is a Sask.-based mining company and is one of the few businesses with a woman at the top.
Favreau obtained her bachelor of commerce degree from the University of Saskatchewan is also a chartered professional accountant, a designation received from CPA Saskatchewan.
Favreau said she had hoped the numbers would be better than they are but that she has still had a positive experience in her career.
“I’ve encountered a lot of both male and female leaders who’ve been very supportive and have mentored me along the way,” she said.
She said women in senior positions should be mentoring other women to move forward in the future.
“Generally speaking, women and men come to the table with different different styles of working and different perspectives,” she said.
“I think all those perspectives and styles together help make the best decisions for a corporation or an organization.”
½ of businesses reviewed have policies to include more women
Favreau said more publicly traded companies are making a point of appointing female board members. Those companies are reaping the benefits of having a diverse group of people at the table to make decisions.
According to the Government of Saskatchewan, women hold 45 per cent of senior management positions and nearly 54 per cent of middle and other management jobs within the provincial government.
Half of the crown corporation subsidiary board members are women.
Favreau, who is also a mother of two children under the age of eight, said she wants to see more women in executive positions. She said women need to accept their ambition and go for what they want.
“Generally speaking, men tend to sort of step into roles or go after roles that they maybe are uncomfortable with a little bit,” Favreau said. “They don’t know everything they need to know but they just typically have the confidence to just try it and they know they’ll figure it out.
“We’re just as capable of doing that too.”