Balance In The Boardroom: Gender Diversity In Gaming
Featured in iGaming Business Issue 115, Tracy Whitcomb on ‘Balance In The Boardroom’, inspiring and influencing the development of women in our industry
"As the industry’s expansion continues apace, it’s vital that women have the opportunity to bring their diversified and unique skills and experiences to board and executive roles, writes Tracy Whitcomb.
It’s bringing new people into the industry and providing once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for progression. Crucially, though, the expansion of our gaming and gambling industry must be managed to achieve a more gender, culture and age-diverse leadership than it has to date.
If our industry is to achieve board-level gender diversity, it has further to come than most. Until recent years, there were only eight women out of 57 board members serving in the six largest gaming companies operating here in Vegas. Little progress was made toward addressing gender disparity within the gaming industry.
But that’s now changing. In November 2018, Caesars Entertainment appointed its first female board member, with the second following in December. The 12-strong board of directors for MGM Resorts International includes four women, while the same number sit at Wynn Resorts, where they make up 36% of its board. Change is coming in other industries too. A record-breaking 40% of directors joining S&P 500 boards in 2018 were women, while the percentage of women sitting on S&P boards grew to 24%. In part, this improvement is down to companies doing more to address inequality and achieve competitive advantages through the appointment of female board members.
To address the lack of female executives, global initiatives have been launched to close the women’s leadership gap. The 2020 Women on Boards initiative (2020wob.com) strives to have 20% female board representation by 2020, while the Thirty Percent Coalition (30percentcoalition.org) hopes to have close to a third of all corporate board seats held by women.
Unlike some European countries, federal legislation does not mandate female representation on boards, but in September 2018 California passed legislation requiring all publicly traded companies headquartered in the state to have at least one female board member by the end of 2019.
The EU has similarly proposed legislation to introduce gender quotas to increase female numbers on the boards of publicly-traded firms. Beyond legislative action, it is the initiatives of the companies themselves and the proactive outreach by professionals – successful female executives – within the gaming community who are making a difference and advancing women in the workplace. We are proud to support these initiatives.
Locally, professional networking organisations such as Women’s Executive Circle Advisory Board – whose annual Women in the Boardroom summit Pentasia recently attended – are creating an environment for female executives to advance their careers and serve their professions in a leadership capacity. Elsewhere, Global Gaming Women (GGW), established by the American Gaming Association, operates with a shared goal of supporting, inspiring and influencing the development of women in the industry worldwide.
Accomplished leaders throughout the gaming industry are coming together to make a difference. Happily, their contributions are having an impact.
Tracy Whitcomb, Head of Accounting & Finance, North America
Specialist in senior and board-level positions and in the provision of advisory services to leadership teams and shareholders on a broad range of human resource issues and talent acquisition requirements.