Building Inclusive Boards to Achieve Gender Equality

Women’s active participation and decision-making in the economy is crucial for long-term economic prosperity.

According to a study of 353 Fortune 500 companies, on average, the companies with the best financial performance had more women in their top management teams than lower performing companies.

Companies and organizations achieve success in the global economy when they take action to eliminating gender stereotypes in the workplace and ensuring that the talents, skills and perspectives of women are welcomed and valued in the boardroom. However, women cannot be considered a homogeneous group and when tackling barriers to their participation, an intersectional lens can be used to target women of diverse backgrounds with differing identities and abilities.

This guidance note forms part of a toolkit to help companies implement the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs). It illustrates the barriers that women face in accessing leadership roles and board seats, the benefits of board diversity and the many strategies that companies have taken to secure parity on boards and ensure that women’s perspectives and talents are equally valued in decision-making.

It specifically aims to support WEPs signatories in the following:

1. Prioritizing and establishing high-level corporate leadership for gender equality (Principle 1)
2. Proactively recruiting and appointing women to executive positions and to the corporate board of directors (Principle 2).

For further guidance on how to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace and community, visit

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