German CEO: Adding Women To The Board Would “Make It Prettier”
When it comes to trying to break the glass ceiling, it turns out women need to fight their “advocates” as much as they need to convince those who fight gender equity.
When asked to comment on Germany’s proposed corporate board gender quota, Josef Ackermann advocated for greater numbers of women within the executive ranks as a bottom line, business imperative…yet then quipped that the appointment of a woman on his bank’s all-male board would make it “more colorful and prettier.”
To Ackermann, which is more valuable — women’s insight and expertise, or their ability ‘decorate’ the stodgy boardrooms of white haired men?
Given this media landmine, Deutsche Bank’s spokesperson attempted the PR ‘get out of jail free card’ by claiming that Ackermann’s comments were taken out of context, conceding that his CEO was “a gentleman from the old school.”
Three of Germany’s top 30 companies have women on the board, according to Forbes, a dismal 10 percent. But America isn’t much better, with only 16 percent of the top 500 companies.
Some argue that women should be happy that people are pushing for more women in upper management, despite how offensive the comments from the “advocate” might be. But surely there must be some way to fight for gender parity without supporting an “old-school” gentleman’s idea of women as window dressing.