Despite women making up nearly half of the U.S. labor force,1 female representation across nationwide boardrooms has yet to reflect that. According to the data governance company Equilar Inc.,2 women hold 20.2 percent of board seats for companies in the Russell 3,000 index (representing about 98 percent of all publicly traded U.S. companies). While this is a milestone that achieves the goal set by the national advocacy group 2020 Women On Boards3 to have women exceed 20 percent of corporate board positions by 2020, the work for representation still continues.
In order to better reflect the makeup of a company's employees, as well as the customers they serve, there has been a push for more women in the boardroom. The state of California responded by passing the first law that requires all public companies headquartered in the state to have at least one female board member by the end of 2019, with that number increasing by the close of 2021 depending on the size of the board.4 Another approach calls for investment firms to promote the cause of gender diversity by showing less financial interest in companies without women on their board of directors.5
While legal and financial incentives help push the issue, they also face pushback from those claiming the new law forces businesses to hire on the basis of gender.6 The debate is bound to continue, but for companies looking to broaden the perspective of their leadership team, the experiences of female board members extend well beyond gender.
NBCE Board of Directors: Three New Faces Reflect the Board's Evolution
The soon-to-be-released 2020 Practice Analysis of Chiropractic7 discovered that for chiropractors under 30 years old, the number of female practitioners is 53.2 percent, surpassing what was once a dominantly male profession. However, as reported earlier by Dynamic Chiropractic,8 "It was not that long ago that women didn't hold any director positions with the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE)."
In an effort to evolve, the NBCE began to fill this gap on its board of directors. The Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards appointed its vice president, Dr. Carol J. Winkler, as FCLB representative on the NBCE Board of Directors. Dr. Winkler has been following the changes in the industry from a young age while sitting in on countless breakfast room conversations between her family. Her father and uncle were involved in creating the laws and statues that advanced the chiropractic profession by creating acceptance and a seat at the collective health care table within the United States and internationally. Dr. Winkler has watched the industry change dramatically with an intimate understanding of the work needed to advance the chiropractic field.
Dr. Winkler's father, Dr. Carroll H. Winkler, served on the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners from 1991 to 1995, making her the first second-generation member of the NBCE Board of Directors.9 Continuing the legacy of education at home, Dr. Winkler is married to a fellow chiropractor and their children have the same front-row seat to the industry she was afforded at their age.
Another valued perspective comes from doctors of chiropractic who are the first in their families such as Dr. Cynthia Tays,10 who was elected to the NBCE Board of Directors by delegates of district IV. Dr. Tays served as a qualified medical evaluator in the state of California, as well as a designated doctor in the state of Texas. Both positions required her to determine if treatments performed on patients improved their quality of life.
Through her experience in workers' compensation, she noticed an issue regarding chiropractors continuing to perform the same treatment on patients, regardless of the outcome. This perpetuated a cycle of chiropractic visits that did not benefit patients.
Inspired by her drive to remove abuses from the industry, Dr. Tays served as president of the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners before serving as the district IV director and board chair for the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards. As a board member of the NBCE, she continues to advocate for the advancement of education and scientific scrutiny for the benefit of patients.
In terms of breaking new ground, there is no better example than Kimberly Driggers, JD, the first non-chiropractor on the NBCE Board of Directors. Ms. Driggers brings her experience as an attorney and lobbyist to boardroom discussions with the added perspective of drafting and defending bills and amendments that fight for the equality of chiropractic.
While serving as the assistant general counsel to the Florida Chiropractic Association, Ms. Driggers fought against the insurance industry's practice of denying chiropractic the same telehealth insurance coverage offered to other medical professions.11 Although an in-person visit with a doctor provides the most comprehensive medical consultation, telehealth allows patients to seek advice regarding nutrition, range of motion, or other check-ups that can be handled outside of a doctor's office.
The analytical, writing and contract-drafting skillset of a lawyer representing the chiropractic profession brings a valued legal perspective to the national testing agency.
Necessary Changes for the Future
When companies select their next board member, there is a wide pool of qualified professionals with varied perspectives to choose from. To direct a company to a sustainable future, it is important to have leadership insights from more than just men. The three women on the 11-member NBCE Board of Directors bring lifelong education, scrutiny and legal perspectives to guide the future of the profession.
According to Dr. Daniel M. Côté, president of the NBCE, "Dr. Winkler, Dr. Tays, and Ms. Driggers have made a significant impact since coming on the Board. We value their knowledge, input, and perspective, and could not be happier as we prepare to showcase the benefits of chiropractic care to the next generation."
- Labor Force Participation Rate of Women, 1950 to 2015 and Projected to 2024. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1 July 2017.
- Stych A. "Women's Representation on Boards Reaches a Milestone." Biz Women, 12 Sept. 2019.
- Berkhemer-Credaire B. "2020 Women on Board." 2020 Women on Board, 30 June 2019.
- Wamsley L. "California Becomes 1st State to Require Women on Corporate Boards." NPR, 1 Oct. 2018.
- Brown C. "How Wall Street is Pushing for More Women." Axios, 18 Nov. 2019.
- Pender K. "Lawsuit Challenges California's Women-on-Boards Law." San Francisco Chronicle, 13 Nov. 2019.
- Himelfarb I, Hyland J, Ouzts Jr. N. Practice Analysis of Chiropractic 2020. National Board of Chiropractic Examiners.
- Petersen DM. "Can the National Board Evolve?" Dynamic Chiropractic, 1 May 2019.
- "NBCE Mourns the Passing of Dr. Carroll H. Winkler." National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, 15 Apr. 2019.
- "Dr. Cynthia Tays Elected to NBCE Board." National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, 24 Sept. 2018.
- "Kimberly Driggers." Speaker bio for FCA's The National, 2019.
Max Russell is the public-relations coordinator for the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE).