Women on Boards

You will find on this page:

To learn about INSEAD's other initiatives for women, visit women@insead

INSEAD supports the EU effort on gender diversity
and answers EU Call for Public Consultation

INSEAD answers EU call for public consultation
on"Gender Imbalance in Corporate Boards in the EU

Mirjam Staub-Bisang, INSEAD Board Member, participated in the luncheon with Viviane Reding with leaders of Europe's business schools and industry on 19 June 2012.

GBRW - Global Board Ready Women Searchable Data Base


The European Business Schools/Women on Board initiative of which INSEAD is a member supports the European Commission Vice President Reding’s initiative to shatter the glass ceiling for women in Europe’s publicly listed corporation’s board rooms and is launching a Global Board Ready Women network of board-ready women to bring Europe into the 21st Century. This is an international network of women qualified to sit on a board.

All women on the list have at least five years’ experience in one or more of the following roles:

  • Chair and/or NED of listed/private corporations
  • CEO, COO, CFO or other C-suite exec/director level in listed/private corporations
  • Family member and controlling shareholder of boards of large family companies
  • Director of government agencies
  • Director of non-profit orgs
  • Institutional investment community senior professional
  • Professional firms senior partner serving boards and their committees as clients
  • Entrepreneur
  • Senior academics with relevant experience

This list is hosted on LinkedIn as a professional LinkedIn Group. This group is a closed group, meaning only members are allowed to access it. However, temporary membership are granted to headhunters, chairs and boards who are looking to short/long list or appoint women to their boards.  The Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) have just been granted permanent access.

For more information:

If are not an INSEAD alumnae, contact your school or click here

  • Boards and Search firms, click here to request information
INSEAD Professor Ludo Van der Heyden received the TIAW World of Difference 100 Award

Ludo Van der Heyden is Academic Director of the INSEAD Corporate Governance Initiative and has been a Professor of Technology Management at INSEAD since 1988. As a leader of INSEAD's International Corporate Strategy and Governance programs, Mr. Van der Heyden has promoted board gender diversity as an economic factor in global corporations. He has been a key supporter of Viviane Reding and Candace Johnson’s European Business Schools’ initiative to get more women onto corporate boards and has been vocal in his support of quotas to bring gender diversity to corporate boards in Europe. He says not only should boards become more gender diverse but also that it is "absurd and not normal” that there are corporations with no women in their executive ranks. His view is without quotas, nothing will change, noting that the current rate of 1% improvement per year is unacceptable.

Mr. Van der Heyden has held the Solvay Chair of Technological Innovation, the Wendel Chair in the Large Family Firm, which initiated INSEAD's activities in family businesses. He has been recognized with numerous awards for his work on the introduction of the Euro, for teaching excellence and for his case studies. He currently holds the Mubadala Chair in Corporate Governance & Strategy.


Women in Economic Decision-Making Panel

World Economic Forum, Davos, 25 January 2013

INSEAD Professor Herminia Ibarra, The Cora Chaired Professor of Leadership and Learning and Professor of Organizational Behaviour, INSEAD, France; Global Agenda Council on Women's Empowerment, chaired the session.

Drew Gilpin Faust, President, Harvard University, USA;

Kevin Kelly, Chief Executive Officer, Heidrick & Struggles, USA;

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Washington DC; World Economic Forum Foundation Board Member

Lubna S. Olayan, Deputy Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer, Olayan Financing Company, Saudi Arabia; INSEAD Board Member

Viviane Reding, Vice-President and Commissioner, Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, European Commission, Brussels;

Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer and Member of the Board, Facebook, USA; Young Global Leader Alumnus

ICGI Webinar: Women on Boards

13 December 2012


This webinar was devoted to the topic of women in senior business leadership roles, both at executive and board levels. The representation of women in senior business ranks has virtually not changed for years, despite considerable organizational investment in diversity initiatives. 

Professor Herminia Ibarra started the discussion by sharing her latest research on the question on how women get fewer of the game-changing roles that lead to the executive director level.   Then Professor Ludo Van der Heyden turned to the issue of gender diversity at board level, which is an issue that also suffers from the poor percentage of women in senior leadership roles. They also discussed the evidence on board performance and gender diversity.  

The session was closed with an open discussion with webinar participants, inviting questions and suggestions on prescriptions on what men and women might do to increase gender diversity at the corporate top.

Women for Supervisory Boards Workshops

ERT, London, 24-25 October 2012 and 9-10 September 2013

The European Roundtable of Industrialists organises a two-day workshops specifically designed for women holding senior positions in the frame of their initiative for the advancement of women in Business.

ICGI is in charge of the programme. Last year, Professors Herminia Ibarra and Stanislav Shekshnia hold sessions respectively on leadership at the top and corporate governance, while Professor Van der Heyden moderated a panel composed of representatives of Ernst & Young, Russel Reynolds Associates, and Spencer Stuart. 

The day was opened by Gerard Kleisterlee, Chairman of Vodafone. This was an opportunity for women to follow coaching sessions with the faculty, be interviewed by executive search firms, and network.

This year's speakers are Dr. Mirjam Staub-Bisang, co-founder and managing partner at Independent Capital Management AG, INSEAD Board Member, and Prof. Annet Aris, INSEAD faculty in Strategy, also Board Member of the Sanoma Group and several other companies.  The three European Search Firms will hold sessions on what boards are looking for, and how to get there. This event is upon invitation only.

Diversity at Board Level,

INSEAD Governance Meeting, Medef, Paris, 15 June 2011

This third Governance Meeting, hosted by the MEDEF and INSEAD, provided an opportunity for exchange on the practical issues around leveraging diversity in the boardroom.

Participants included various established board members and high-profile academics with established reputations in the leadership and governance fields, INSEAD Faculty Herminia Ibarra, Jean-François Manzoni and Ludo Van der Heyden.

The Corporate Gender Gap Report

INSEAD and World Economic Forum, 2010

The global report, co-written by Saadia Zahidi, WEF and Herminia Ibarra, INSEAD, surveyed the heads of human resources at 600 companies in 20 countries, and found that leading companies are failing to capitalise on the talents of women in the workforce. The Corporate Gender Gap Report is the first study to cover the world’s largest employers and benchmark them against gender equality policies.

From our Faculty

The EU's Boardroom Quota Battle Is Over, But Women Cannot Yet Rest

INSEAD Knowledge

INSEAD Professors Annet Aris and Herminia Ibarra respond to the passing of a European law that requires women to represent 40 percent of company board members by 2020.



Struggle in the Boardroom

INSEAD Knowledge

Comments by Prof. Van der Heyden, Director of the Corporate Governance Initiative

The prospect of mandatory quotas for women on European company boards seems to have receded, but European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding’s campaign for quotas has pushed the issue of gender diversity firmly to the forefront of public debate. What happens next will depend as much on corporate leaders as on politicians.

Locked out of the boardroom

INSEAD Knowledge

An interview with Herminia Ibarra, The Cora Chaired Professor of Leadership and Learning, Prof of Organisational Behaviour.

When new rules mandating seats for women on corporate boards go into effect in Europe next year, on which side will you be sitting?


To Close the Gender Gap, Focus on Assignments

INSEAD Blog, 23 May 2012

Professor Herminia Ibarra comments on the new McKinsey study (PDF) which reports statistically what we already knew from personal experience: that mid-career and senior women tend to be found disproportionally in staff jobs, or “pink ghettos,” relative to men. The report tells us that 50% to 65% of women at the vice-president level and higher are in staff roles, compared with only 41% to 48% of men, who are more likely to be in the line jobs that lead to the top.




First diversity

INSEAD Knowledge

An interview with Strategy Professor Annet Aris

For companies to be competitive, they should think strategically and unconventionally about the composition of their board.


For more interviews from our faculty and alumni,

connect to INSEAD Knowledge's special section

on Women in Business



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