10 Strategies for Bridging the Board Diversity Gap


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As companies aim to diversify their boardrooms, the slow advancement and persistent gender disparities remain concerning. Insights from The Bedford Group Transearch’s latest compensation reports further highlight the ongoing need for gender equity in board composition.


Despite widespread acknowledgment of the importance of diverse leadership, many corporations still struggle to bridge the gap in both representation and compensation. By adopting a strategic, multifaceted approach, businesses can make meaningful progress toward inclusive governance, ensuring that board diversity is not only a goal but a reality.

1. Commit to inclusive recruitment practices

It seems obvious but achieving board diversity has to be driven by a concerted effort. Expanding the search for board candidates to include diverse networks and adopting inclusive criteria will help identify and elevate qualified women into board positions.

2. Promote equity in leadership roles

Ensuring women are not only present on boards but also featured  in leadership positions within those boards and within C-suites is crucial for closing the diversity gap.

3. Conduct regular diversity audits

Perform routine assessment of current composition across gender, race, LGBTQ+, disability status. Set goals that align with diversity efforts based on business needs and stakeholder expectations.

4. Secure leadership commitment and stakeholder buy-in

Get commitment from the board and CEO to prioritize diversity. Consider adopting a formal diversity policy.

5. Expand recruiting efforts

Use wider candidate sources. Require that diverse candidates be considered. Leverage diversity-focused executive and board search firms. Look outside your sector. Good directors can be found in any number of adjacent or even non-obvious sectors.

6. Consider candidates from foreign jurisdictions

Organizations that have toe holds in one or more regions have an unique opportunity to find high quality board directors. Casting the search net beyond the zones adjacent to HQs can yield some surprising and often under-utilized candidates.

7. Rethink candidate requirements

Consider candidates without prior board experience. Seek those with other backgrounds, like academia, law, technology.

8. Add board seats

This one is controversial and not for the faint of heart. But, if a board is well established, and waiting for turnover is not a fast enough solution for injecting more diversity, adding new seats is an option.

9. Formalize succession planning and term limits

Proactively plan for retiring directors. Source qualified, diverse candidates in advance. Setting term limits and board positions also ensures that the board stays nimble and refreshed.

10. Foster an inclusive corporate community standard

Ensure diverse perspectives are valued. Provide training for new directors. Evaluate and enhance board culture on an ongoing basis.

The Road Ahead For Board Recruitment And DEI Culture

The effort to create equitable boardrooms—where diversity is evident not only in the makeup of their members but also in their pay and power—continues. While the data points to gradual progress, the disparities in compensation for women board members highlight the need for a sustained and strategic effort to dismantle systemic barriers and foster truly inclusive corporate governance.

Speak to one of the Board Search Specialists at The Bedford Group.

Find out what we can do for you.