The number of women directors appointed to corporate boards in the United States has increased dramatically, but the ratio of female to male directors remains low. Although pressure to recruit women directors, unlike that to employ women in the general work force, does not derive from legislation, it is nevertheless real.
Although small companies were the first to have women directors, large corporations currently have a higher percentage of women on their boards. When the chairs of these large corporations began recruiting women to serve on boards, they initially sought women who were chief executive officers (CEO’s) of large corporations. However, such women CEO’s are still rare. In addition, the ideal of six CEO’s (female or male) serving on the board of each of the largest corporations is realizable only if every CEO serves on six boards. This raises the specter of director over-commitment and the resultant dilution of contribution. Consequently, the chairs next sought women in business who had the equivalent of CEO experience. However, since it is only recently that large numbers of women have begun to rise in management, the chairs began to recruit women of high achievement outside the business world. Many such women are well known for their contributions in government, education, and the nonprofit sector. The fact that the women from these sectors who were appointed were often acquaintances of the boards’ chairs seems quite reasonable: chairs have always considered it important for directors to interact comfortably in the boardroom.
Although many successful women from outside the business world are unknown to corporate leaders, these women are particularly qualified to serve on boards because of the changing nature of corporations. Today a company’s ability to be responsive to the concerns of the community and the environment can influence that company’s growth and survival. Women are uniquely positioned to be responsive to some of these concerns. Although conditions have changed, it should be remembered that most directors of both sexes are over fifty years old. Women of that generation were often encouraged to direct their attention toward efforts to improve the community. This fact is reflected in the career development of most of the outstandingly successful women of the generation now in their fifties, who currently serve on corporate boards: 25 percent are in education and 22 percent are in government, law, and the nonprofit sector.
One organization of women directors is helping business become more responsive to the changing needs of society by raising the level of corporate awareness about social issues, such as problems with the economy, government regulation, the aging population, and the environment. This organization also serves as a resource center of information on accomplished women who are potential candidates for corporate boards.
1. The author of the passage would be most likely to agree with which of the following statements about achievement of the “ideal” mentioned in line 14?
(A) It has only recently become a possibility.
(B) It would be easier to meet if more CEO’s were women.
(C) It is very close to being a reality for most corporate boards.
(D) It might affect the quality of directors’ service to corporations.
(E) It would be more realizable if CEO’s had a more extensive range of business experience.
2. According to the passage, the pressure to appoint women to corporate boards differs from the pressure to employ women in the work force in which of the following ways?
(A) Corporate boards are under less pressure because they have such a small number of openings.
(B) Corporate boards have received less pressure from stockholders, consumers, and workers within companies to include women on their boards.
(C) Corporate boards have received less pressure from the media and the public to include women on their boards.
(D) Corporations have only recently been pressured to include women on their boards.
(E) Corporations are not subject to statutory penalty for failing to include women on their boards.
3. All of the following are examples of issues that the organization described in the last paragraph
would be likely to advise corporations on EXCEPT
(A) long-term inflation
(B) health and safety regulations
(C) retirement and pension programs
(D) the energy shortage
(E) how to develop new markets
4. It can be inferred from the passage that, when seeking to appoint new members to a corporation’s board, the chair traditionally looked for candidates who
(A) had legal and governmental experience
(B) had experience dealing with community affairs
(C) could work easily with other members of the board
(D) were already involved in establishing policy for that corporation
(E) had influential connections outside the business world
5. According to the passage, which of the following is true about women outside the business world who are currently serving on corporate boards?
(A) Most do not serve on more than one board.
(B) A large percentage will eventually work on the staff of corporations.
(C) Most were already known to the chairs of the board to which they were appointed.
(D) A larger percentage are from government and law than are from the nonprofit sector.
(E) Most are less than fifty years old.
6. The passage suggests that corporations of the past differ from modern corporations in which of the following ways?
(A) Corporations had greater input on government policies affecting the business community.
(B) Corporations were less responsive to the financial needs of their employees.
(C) The ability of a corporation to keep up with changing markets was not a crucial factor in its success.
(D) A corporation’s effectiveness in coping with community needs was less likely to affect its growth and prosperity.
(E) Corporations were subject to more stringent government regulations.
7. Which of the following best describes the organization of the passage?
(A) A problem is described, and then reasons why various proposed solutions succeeded or failed are discussed.
(B) A problem is described, and then an advantage of resolving it is offered.
(C) A problem is described, and then reasons for its continuing existence are summarized.
(D) The historical origins of a problem are described, and then various measures that have successfully resolved it are discussed.
(E) The causes of a problem are described, and then its effects are discussed.
8. It can be inferred from the passage that factors making women uniquely valuable members of modern corporate boards would include which of the following?
I. The nature of modern corporations
II. The increased number of women CEO’s
III. The careers pursued by women currently available to serve on corporate boards
(A) I only
(B) II only
(C) III only
(D) I and III only
(E) I, II, and III