There are a couple of recent papers on women directors that are worth reading (note that a reading recommendation does not necessarily constitute an endorsement of the normative claims in the articles):
"Myths and Facts About Female Directors"
IFC Private Sector Opinion, Issue 37, 2015
Women in the workforce are key to healthy economies, but this does not mean that adding more women to the board will necessarily increase shareholder value or that the financial crisis would not have happened if Lehman Brothers had been Lehman Sisters. Negative stereotypes may be one reason women are underrepresented in management and on the boards. But are women better served if we promote them on the basis of positive stereotypes? In this paper, Renée Adams draws on current research to debunk popular myths about boardroom gender diversity.
Evidence from literature has shown that inadequacies with voluntary mechanisms to bring more women on boards led many nations to adopt quota legislation. This paper, however, argues that voluntary regimes, unlike quota systems, allow companies and their boards to set their own targets for gender diversity without many repercussions on firm performance and stock prices. Since most jurisdictions have codes of corporate governance that require companies to disclose reasons for non-compliance, this paper advocates for markets to be left to regulate corporate governance practices, including achieving “critical mass” for women on boards. Any quota legislation will dilute the effect of that prerogative. Market forces will force companies to achieve diversity thresholds in their own timeframes with minimal government interference. However, in the case that a jurisdiction intends to adopt a mandatory quota for women on boards, this paper recommends that a flexible timeframe for attainment of the quota by companies should be set and, the timeframe should be staggered so as to allow companies to recruit qualified and experienced women board members. Studies have shown that more time is needed to nurture previously excluded minorities to have the requisite skills and experience. Authorities should consider putting in place some incentives, like tax allowances, associated with attainment of certain levels of diversity during the adoption period. Companies should put in place comprehensive and flexible training programmes for straightforward integration of new women appointees into boards.