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Gender perception Meaningful statistics are hard to find for the Channel Islands. A 2010 CMI survey indicated that, in Guernsey, women account for just 9.7 per cent of company boards, but the source group was small. Senior sources in the islands, however, confirm we are behind the UK in our recruitment of women to boards. Anecdotal evidence suggests the reason


may be that, despite the IoD now approaching 20 per cent female membership, some law firms are still sending out all-male candidate lists for Non-Executive Director positions. In many areas we are proud that our islands don’t exactly rush to embrace the new, but maybe this is one area where the traditional approach is past its sell-by date. In my work, I’ve asked groups of business-


women for lists of traits demonstrating why women are good for business and why they are not getting to the top. All groups have produced remarkably similar results. Literature on the subject concurs with these women, citing high standards, good organisational skills, an inclusive team focus and dedication to work, coupled with avoiding networking,


Get involved


The Women’s Development Forum (WDF) is a not-for-profit initiative founded in Guernsey in 2009 by Michelle Johansen and championed by an eminent panel of locally based female Non-Executive Directors, including Carol Goodwin, a FTSE 250 company director, and Denise Mileham, a FTSE 100 company director. The WDF Glass Ladder Forum aims to help mentor, support and develop the current and future generations of women towards a collective vision of 30 per cent senior female leadership in the island by 2020. Find out more at www.wdforum.org or contact michelle@wdforum.org


aversion to self-promotion, oversensitivity and lacking confidence in their abilities. Neuroscience debunks the idea of a ‘female


brain’, pointing instead to associative memory and imprinting as the reason why men and women see themselves and each other through a social stereotypical lens. These subconscious beliefs need to be exposed, examined and questioned to create change. To achieve gender balance in the boardroom will take time – targets and quotas will only ever be a part of the solution. Whether male or female, we all need to understand and take responsibility for how


we contribute to maintaining the status quo. Cleaning off the clouded lens through which we view gender to see both our own strengths and those of the people around us. We also need to clear away old beliefs about island resistance to change to recognise our own role in leading the way forward. l


MICHELLE JOHANSEN is a Director and Executive Coach at Johansen Executive Coaching and former Director and COO at Credit Suisse Fund Administration. She is also the Founder of the Women’s Development Forum in Guernsey


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