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Get More Women on Boards: Opinion


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney's choice of Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate means it's highly unlikely a women will be on a U.S. presidential campaign ticket from either major political party in 2012. That's too bad.

I'm not one who would vote for somebody, or hire them, based on gender alone but when more women occupy positions of power it's a sign of progress. In case you haven't noticed, our leaders in government and business -- generally speaking -- haven't been doing a very good job, and those arenas are largely dominated by men.

Remember when Wall Street, an industry that is overwhelmingly male, was bailed out of financial ruin by the U.S. government? Coincidence? I think not.

Data from a recent study by the Credit Suisse Research Institute backs me up. It showed that shares of companies with a market cap of more than $10 billion and with women board members outperformed those of comparable companies with all-male boards by 26% worldwide over a six-year period that included the global financial crisis.

That's a wide margin. What accounts for it?

The authors of the report told Bloomberg News that companies with women on their boards tend to be more risk-averse and have less debt on their books. Moreover, corporate boards that include women exercise more diligent oversight. They have better attendance records and they invest more efforts into auditing -- a key role of a corporate board that is too often neglected.

I could bore you with the complexities of the data and the rigor of the analysis that supports these findings, but is that really necessary? I don't know what planet you live on, but here on Earth this all seems like common sense to me. It's abundantly clear that we need more women in the halls of power.

In fact, I'd wager that if men stepped aside tomorrow and women took over all the positions of public power in the world, it would be a dramatically better place to live in short order. I recognize that's not going to happen anytime soon, but as an investor I certainly look for female leadership -- not only in the boardroom but also in the executive suites of the public companies in which I am a stockholder.

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