The 2012 Board of Directors Survey details the governance practices, strategic priorities and views on their own boards’ strengths and weaknesses of more than 1,000 directors from around the world.

The survey that was carried out by Global Membership Organisation WomenCorporateDirectors (WCD), Executive Consulting firm Heidrick and Struggles and Independent Researcher Deborah Bell suggests there are differences in opinions between male and female directors when it comes to the topic of board diversity.

Of the women Directors surveyed, 51% believe that quotas are an effective tool for increasing diversity in the boardroom, whereas only 25% of men felt the same way.

The survey also showed that 39% of women directors personally support boardroom quotas while 18% of men do.

Commenting on these results, Bonnie Gwin, Vice Chairperson and Co-Managing Partner of Heidrick and Struggles, said:

“We see from these numbers that quotas don’t garner overwhelming support, even from women directors.”

When it comes to the reasons why women are underrepresented on boards, once again male and female respondents opinions differ. Forty-five per-cent of men believed that the lack of women in executive ranks is the main reason that the percentage of women on boards isn’t increasing, however only 18% of women feel this is the biggest factor.

The reason most cited by women for this occurrence was that “traditional networks tend to be male-orientated” the survey revealed.

Speaking about the contrasting views, Co-Founder and Co-Chair of WCD, Susan Stautberg, said:

“There is a clear perception gap when it comes to evaluating how the still predominantly male business networks impact on the number of women on boards.

“Women see a need to develop the kinds of networks that have historically been the path to directorships.”