Just posted this to Kara's important blog post:
We should all focus on this issue a little.
best jasonI would have to agree with Cyan.
Board seats are primarily chosen to represent classes of stock, which come in to flavors: common for founder and preferred for investors.
In most small boards four of five seats are selected based on representing stock: two for founders and two for investors, with one being an independent.
An independent seat is selected based on need, knowledge and previous experience. Typically the best thing for a founder to do is find someone who was the CEO of a bigger company and put them in that position.
Now you can see why we have a problem:
1. There are not many women founders, so 40% of the seats are now male.
2. There are very few investors who are female (angel or VC), and there are plenty of women with a ton of money they could invest. I'm not sure why this is, but the end result is that women are not investing so they don't get the investors seats. Now 80% of the seats are spoken for.
3. Finally, you have the indie seats left and they are going to go to former CEOs who, you guessed it, are primarly male.
As Kara knows from running events, and as all event hosts know, getting females on the program is very,very hard. There are a small number of females in the CEO/founder slots, and they get asked to speak at EVERY conference. The result is they can't say yes to everyone.
I suspect the same thing is happening here: everyone is hitting up the same small pool of qualified female candidates and there aren't enough to go around.
What we really need to do is focus on the funnel that fills board: founders, CEOs and angel investors.
Better than getting women on these boards would be creating a female ycombinator! In fact, that gives me an idea… when my daughter is old enough maybe I will come out of retirement and start one with her. 🙂
Now I'm off to call Martha and try to get her on the board ofMahalo.com! 🙂