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By Yin Wilczek
May 8 — Men and women really do have different perspectives, even if they're directors, a new PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP report finds.
According to the newest installment of PwC's Annual Corporate Director's Survey, women are far more likely to consider board diversity important.
In response to the survey, 61 percent of women directors described gender diversity as “very important,” compared to only 32 percent of male board members. Forty-two percent of the women directors also described racial diversity as “very important,” compared to 24 percent of their male counterparts.
Moreover, while both male and female directors view shareholder communications with some trepidation, the men were more likely to be concerned, the survey found.
Sixty-five percent of the male respondents indicated that they believed “very much” that such communications create too great of a risk of mixed messages, compared to 51 percent of the women.
In addition, 23 percent of the male directors said it would be inappropriate to communicate directly with shareholders on any topic, compared to 12 percent of the women.
The survey polled 863 public company directors in 2014, of which 70 percent served on boards of companies with annual revenues exceeding $1 billion. Reflecting the gender diversity of Fortune 500 companies, 86 percent of the respondents were male, while 14 percent were female.
In other key differences, the survey found:
• women are more skeptical of their board's evaluation processes;
• women want more time and focus on information technology; and
• men are less likely to believe that say-on-pay voting had a significant cumulative impact on evaluating compensation and related communications.
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The report is available at http://www.pwc.com/en_US/us/corporate-governance/publications/assets/pwc-acds-2014-the-gender-edition.pdf.
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