Now is the time for women to ask for a seat at the table (Guest Commentary)

Passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley means more seats available in North America’s boardrooms
By Ronna Lichtenberg
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 08/15/2005

The passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) in the United States has companies in Canada and the U.S. reviewing their governance standards. SOX is a response to a corporate governance system that allowed the debacles at Enron, WorldCom and others to go unchecked until executive pillaging brought firms to their knees.

For business women across North America SOX brings a reason to celebrate. The act is having a bullish impact on their ability to compete for notoriously unattainable seats at the board of director’s table.

Most boardrooms are filled with the usual suspects: white males, many of whom may have known each other personally before joining the board. But SOX is fuelling the need for corporations to search outside the traditional cast of characters to fulfill the required roles of “independent” directors. For an individual to qualify as independent, there must be no material relationship with the listed company directly or as a partner, shareholder or officer of an organization that has a relationship with the company.