Should a Man Head an Organization to Promote Interests of Women?

business_ethics_highlights_2The optics are bad, here. On the surface, it seems odd that an organization whose official Mission is to “Accelerate Progress for Women Through Workplace Inclusion” should choose a man as chair of its advisory board. But it’s arguably not entirely unreasonable. First, the organization — called Catalyst — has a history of choosing bank CEOs for the role of chair. This presumably has something to do with the size and influence of banks. And in Canada (where this story takes place) banks are relatively few (and large) and 100% of bank CEOs are men. And so it’s plausible that the board sees it as strategically essential to go with a bank CEO, which makes it, regrettably, essential to go with a man. It’s also possible that the board chose a man because it has read the scholars and other commentators who argue that because men are the problem, men also need to play a central role in the solution. A male banker may well be more influential in getting big businesses to be more egalitarian, in other words. And if what you care about is outcomes, that may be a pretty convincing argument.

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LINK: Group devoted to advancement of women in workplace defends appointing a man as chair (from the CBC)

The Canadian division of an organization that advocates for the advancement of women in the workplace is defending its decision to pick a male executive again to be the chair of its advisory board, a move some are calling a missed opportunity.

Catalyst Canada recently named Victor Dodig, the chief executive officer of CIBC, to the post. Dodig takes over from another male bank executive — Bill Downe — who is retiring from his post as CEO of the Bank of Montreal and has stepped down from his role at Catalyst. Downe was chair of Catalyst’s advisory board for four years….

What do you think?


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