An old Chinese proverb says that "women hold up half the sky" and it is certainly true in 2013, women affect more economic and financial decisions in households than ever before.  In the United States, for example, women account for almost 70 percent of car purchasing decisions. This influence extends throughout the developing world, where women are seen as the key to driving improvements in access to education and healthcare.  

So women everywhere are seen as being key to economic development and progress, and yet barely present in many of the boardrooms of the world's largest companies.  Ignoring the talent of half the population is surely not the ideal way to build board effectiveness.

Click here to read the full report