Nonprofit Board Membership and the Gender Gap

Authors

  • Cathryn Cushner Edelstein Emerson College

Keywords:

nonprofit board composition, nonprofit board assessment tools, nonprofit all-male boards, all-male nonprofit board recruitment, nonprofit board gender inclusivity

Abstract

According to a study conducted by BoardSource and reported in, Leading with Intent: 2017 National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices (Board-Source, 2017), 72% of nonprofit CEO/Executive Director positions are held by females, while only 48% are Executive Board Members and 42% are Board Chairs. The discrepancy between the number of board positions held by women versus staff leadership positions has been the subject of many recent publications. Reviewing academic and industry literature, this paper explores the relationship between an allmale board’s choice of self-assessment tools and its decision-making processes related to creating a gender inclusive board. This paper provides additional insight by applying communication theoretical frameworks to analyze allmale board decision-making processes which ultimately affect recruitment outcomes.

Author Biography

Cathryn Cushner Edelstein, Emerson College

Cathryn Cushner Edelstein, BS (Boston University), MA (New York University), Senior Executive-in-Residence, is the creator and director of the Nonprofit Communication Management Program at Emerson College, teaching both Introduction to Nonprofit Communication Management and Nonprofit Fundraising Campaigns . The Nonprofit Program provides experiential collaboration between students and nonprofit organizations. Students plan, create, and execute successful campaigns for nonprofit organizations and local public schools, and perform social media audits for nonprofit organizations. Additionally, Professor Edelstein teaches Intercultural Communication and is the faculty director of the Paris Global Pathways Program.

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Published

2020-12-02