Over the last couple of weeks there has been a new wave of articles about the homogeneity of Swedish company boards. The focus this time, luckily, is not only the unfairness of it but also the negative business consequences of lack of diversity.
In one article for instance, Carina Lundberg Markow, head of Corporate Governance at Folksam (one of Sweden’s biggest insurance companies) claims that it is necessary to vitalize the boards. And vitalize means diversify. Her argument is that international competition is hard and sixty year old men are actually not very good at predicting trends in a global world where markets change fast. I'd say that is a very good argument.
Only one in five board members in the country is a woman and for the first time since 2003 the ratio is actually decreasing. It is obvious from the articles that there is a growing awareness of the benefits of diversity – not only as regards gender but aspects like age and ethnicity too. Apparently awareness of business advantages is not enough but I still believe that it is potentially a more effective argument than fairness.