RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF EXAMINING THE LEVEL OF WOMEN PARTICIPATION ON EXECUTIVE BOARDS IN COMPANIES THAT DO BUSINESS WITH THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA
WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association has supported the promotion and defense of civil rights, fair treatment and equal opportunity for all individuals and the avoidance of wrongful discrimination and unfair bias, including support of United States ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women;
WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association has historically demonstrated its commitment to promoting equal opportunity for full participation at all levels in the legal profession for both men and women lawyers; WHEREAS, in 1986, the Philadelphia Bar Association established the Women in the Profession Committee ("Committee") to study and recommend action on issues affecting women lawyers to promote the advancement of women in the profession;
WHEREAS, the Committee was charged with addressing issues and trends and making recommendations to achieve the goals of advancement of women in the legal profession;
WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association promotes and defends equal opportunity in the profession for women lawyers through the monitoring of proposed and enacted legislation;
WHEREAS, women have entered the profession of law in Philadelphia in increasing numbers and have risen to positions of greater prominence and leadership in the profession;
WHEREAS, according to a study published in Harvard Business Review, "How Many Women Do Boards Need?", by Alison M. Konrad and Vicki W. Kramer, only 15 % of Fortune 500 board members are women despite the study's findings that women directors: broaden boards' discussions to better represent the concerns of a larger group of stakeholders (including employees, customers and the community at large); will pursue difficult questions; and bring a more collaborative approach to leadership;
WHEREAS, in order to reap the benefit of women participation on boards, the same Harvard study shows that to be most effective there must be more than one woman on a board, if companies want to fully realize the benefit of contributions by women on boards;
WHEREAS, on February 12, 2012, Patricia Coulter, President and CEO of the Urban League of Philadelphia, wrote an Op-Ed article in the Philadelphia Tribune addressing the need for diversity of women and minorities on corporate boards in the City of Philadelphia;
WHEREAS, in the book, Women-omics, by Claire Shipman and Katty Kay, studies show that companies with a higher percentage of women on corporate boards are more profitable than those with a lack thereof;1,2
WHEREAS, a 2009 study by the Forum of Executive Women showed that despite representing more than half of the population, women comprised only 10 percent of all executive board seats in Philadelphia's top 100 companies, 5.75 percent of all top earners and 10 percent of all directors of companies;3
WHEREAS, a leading indicator of a company's prevailing attitude toward the inclusion of, promotion and advancement of opportunities for women in the workplace can be the make-up of their executive board;
WHEREAS, the City of Philadelphia awards contracts for numerous services to many of the top 100 companies in the Greater Philadelphia region, many with a lack of women members of their executive boards;4,5
WHEREAS, the Philadelphia City Council wishes to take a pro-active role in producing boards that are more reflective of the population demographics of the City and reflect the growing number of women in the workplace, and therefore has authorized that public hearings be held to study the issue of women participation on boards of companies that receive City contracts;
WHEREAS, Mayor Michael Nutter has supported the importance of having more women on corporate boards;
WHEREAS, supporting the work of the City of Philadelphia will help the City play an important role in making board diversity visible as an important economic development issue for the City and the Philadelphia region;
WHEREAS, there are numerous talented women who would be extremely capable of sitting on corporate boards doing business with the City of Philadelphia;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association supports and commends the Mayor and the City Council's Committee on Commerce and Economic Development in holding hearings and in examining the level of women participation on executive boards in companies that contract with the City of Philadelphia to ensure that all companies that receive City contracts take a pro-active role in producing boards that are more reflective of the population demographics of the City and reflect the growing number of women in the workplace;
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association, through the Chancellor, the Women in the Profession Committee and other committees and sections continue to study and work on how women can achieve board positions and obtain leadership roles on boards doing business with the City of Philadelphia;
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association authorizes the Chancellor to publicize, distribute and communicate the content of this resolution to the Mayor and Council of the City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Bar Association members, other bar associations, the general public, the media, and whomsoever they deem suitable to receive the information.
PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: July 26, 2012
1 See also Lois Joy, Ph.D., Nancy Carter, Ph.D, Harvey M. Wagner, Ph.D. and Sriram Narayanan, Ph.D., The Bottom Line: Corporate Performance and Women's Representation on Boards (Catalyst: New York, 2007).
2 See also, Nancy M. Carter, Ph.D. and Harvey M. Wagner, Ph.D., The Bottom Line: Corporate Performance and Women's Representation on Boards (2004-2008) (Catalyst : New York, 2011).
3 Deloitte, Forum For Executive Women, Changing the Face of Leadership: By Chance or Choice? Women on Boards 2011 (Forum for Executive Women, Philadelphia, PA 2012).
4 See Footnote 3.
5 Testimony of Emma Sabin on Women on Boards submitted by Catalyst to Council of the City of Philadelphia, http://www.trhlegislative.com/City%20Council%20Reports/Committee%20on%20Commerce%20and%20Economic%20Development/5-29-2012/Emma%20Sabin%20Testimony.pdf