Goldman Sachs : Capitalism - Nicer Capitalism = Tokenism

Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon's announcement on setting a new standard for the companies they take public is definitely a better start. In a positive way, this could fundamentally force many startups to adopt a diversity mindset from the start once the big revenue targets have been met and could result in the need for early investors to adjust expectations accordingly.

However, "At Least One Diverse Board Member" is also setting a very low bar because it seems like diversity is all about having a mere "presence" and that's just it! Also, research shows that at least three women on board are usually the tipping point for actual influence and impact. I would like to cite MSCI Research here :

The Tipping Point - Women on Boards and Financial Performance.

Secondly, many boards like these having at least one diverse board member may have the outward appearance of diversity, but in reality, a look at the backgrounds of the board members, it would seem homogenous. That is because many organizations use the same criteria for selection which primarily serves to exclude many who would provide invaluable and effective insights. 

Lastly, the Goldman Sachs commitment comes with exemptions: a) Focus only on women, b) Asia, Latin Americas and the Middle East and other regions are not a part of their new commitment.

Diversity comes from within, regardless of sex, age, religion, skin color, or any other factor that makes different seem different. I applaud the premise that many organizations today broadly support efforts to create a more diverse workforce by recruiting and nurturing diverse talent with an unchallenging open door policy to certain demographics who are perceived to be less favored and underrepresented, but the word "diverse" in itself is losing its simplicity in view of all the myriad complexities it has been subjected to from time to time. And more so, when diversity is explained as being achieved by meeting some diversity quotas and making it look good to the investors and customers. This sort of leads organizations to mere tokenism. The Goldman Sachs decision also smells of plugging into the PR socket. Like its being said across social media, It is still capitalism, but just a nicer version.

:) Amit