Women on Boards

by Penny on November 10, 2012

In October this year I put my name forward to be a member of the Board of NZX listed Company Team Talk.   I did this because all the Board were men and all came from the same backgrounds and had profiles that were similar.  While I knew there was NO way the existing Board and Chairman were going to let me on the board I was asked to address the meeting.

I gave a speech and was received with respect but of course they wanted an Accountant and money man.

The following Post details some of my speech.     What I didn’t say at the meeting is that women do own a large number of shares in companies, including this company and that women do have the power to sell shares in companies with only men on their boards.     While this is an extreme position it might at some point be important for women to mobilise and insist that we should be on Board and that there should also be diversity.

This is what I said to the company:

In 1893 New Zealand woman were allowed to vote, since then women have taken their places alongside men in almost every elected positions. There are women in Parliament, as Judges, as Mayors and Councillors, State Owned enterprises have women Board members, there are women on the Boards of not for profit organisations.   Yet in New Zealand in 2012 only 1 in every 20 Board members were women in the NZX listed companies, and at Team Talk there are none.

Since the Global Financial crisis there have been three movement that are important,the first is the communication revolution, smart phone and tablets being news to the person.  The second is Wall Street becomes Main Street, the third is the push for diversity, particularly gender diversity on the Boards of Companies.

The  women on boards is a lively social movement asking for a change in the environment in NZX Boards and encourage them to become more diverse by electing more women, Maori and people a wider ethnic backgrounds.   This campaign has some interesting supporters and any search on Google of Women on NZX Board will bring up speeches by such people as Phil O’Reilly,  Chief Executive, Business New Zealand; Tim Bennett, New CEO NZX;  Dame Jenny Shipley, Rt Hon John Key and many others.

What this movement wants is  gender balance on Boards is very good for those Boards.   Most commentators  acknowledging the research that is showing that Boards with woman on them perform better and are more innovative, creative and forward looking. The diversity makes Board discussions broader and the female input can provide insights that are not recognised by men alone.


{ Comments on this entry are closed }

The Creative Elderly

by Penny on November 10, 2012

The baby boomers are now retiring and are healthy, adventurous, creative and energetic seniors.   Many will live 30+ years after they retire.  Many will live quality lives till well over 100 years old. Most will retain their enthusiasm and be very active throughout their lives and will demand social, economic and environmental well-being. Most will want to live in their own homes and they will remain their intelligence and demand activities.

This new generation of senior citizens will want, in fact demand, age appropriate activities that have no relation to sickness, nursing or health care. Seniors will want music, art, literature and performance during the day. They will want fast broadband and good café environments.

The sickness model characterised by “Good morning dear, and how are we today?”  must be replaced by a well-being model “Good Morning Mrs Brown, what are you doing today?”  The well-being model for seniors has choice, creative engagement and social connectedness with others in society.

The Grey Power generation is embarking on a silent revolution and creative people and arts administrators should become a part of this social movement, which like all social movements will be lead by the energetic seniors themselves.   Some of today’s 65 year olds were 60’s hippies and community activist.  There is no reason they can’t be active in politics and the arts again.

No longer will the seniors sector be called “aged care”. It will be called retirement, but that word will mean action, and it will mean music, drama and films.

Currently the sickness model dominates the residential accommodation and programmes for many of our over 70 year-olds. Many programmes are imposed on the elderly. This is no longer satisfactory, and will become less acceptable as our baby boomers become older.

No longer is it acceptable to place the elderly in a room with a TV set “on full” or “keep them busy”, with “diversional” therapies in their residential homes. Programmes should not be run by nurses and health professionals they should be run by the elderly themselves and recreation specialists and artists.

This elder social movement is similar to the movements of the 1980s and 90’s associated with people with disabilities. That movement saw the closure of institutions and residents moved back into the community and taking control of their support organisations. That movement generated in New Zealand the creative spaces.  These creative spaces provided positive employment of time and meaningful relationships for those who had previously been institutionalised.  They encouraged creativity and creative choices.

At last there is a social movement being run by the seniors themselves and they are demanding the same choices – no more institutions, real community connectivity. This is social connectedness through creative activities not “care”.

Older people are writing novels and histories, making pottery and glass works, creating films and videos, performing in theatre and film, in orchestras and choirs.  They are engaging in the men’s sheds and connecting more on the internet and digital platforms.  Many are returning to universities and attending community learning courses and craft clubs.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Sports and Olympics

August 6, 2012

Engagement in Bread and Circuses – Olympic Games I really thought I was over the Olympics, but they are addictive and we are so proud.  I am loving them.   With 8 different channels of different sport I can watch anything I like at any time. It is wonderful to see our Gold Medal winners they […]

Read the full article →

Japan and cultural economics

July 2, 2012

It was great having the opportunity to give a paper at the Cultural Economics Conference in Kyoto last month.   Stimulating to hear speaker after speaker emphasising the value of culture and cultural capital. Of particular interest were papers on the way Libraries can adapt to the world of E readers and become the Third Place […]

Read the full article →