Letter: Multi-million dollar company discriminates against women

The board of directors of Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation, a $700 million company, does not give us investors the opportunity to vote for or against more than one woman to join their board of directors at its annual meeting on Oct. 1 at 9 a.m., held at 2375 East Camelback Road, Suite 700 in Phoenix. The company is headquartered in Springfield, Mass., but skulked out of town and is holding its annual meeting in Phoenix.

Currently there is only one woman on their entire board of directors. Worse, there are no women executive officers. What man of social integrity or possessing a scintilla of political consciousness would yield his name to a proxy, much less a board, on which there was such a poor gender ratio? What manager of a mutual fund or pension fund or bank or trust or foundation or school or church or 4-H club would perpetuate this social horror by voting for these guys either? None of them got my vote. They flunk the most elemental of moral tests: the test of fairness. The whole board is complicit in presenting this national shame to the printed proxy. This company needs help.

If you know a clear thinking woman of distinguished attainment in her field, please recommend her to the next nominating director. Don’t you think if we had more great women on our corporate boards we would have fewer nightmares like AIG, Citi Corp., Enron, General Motors, Lehman Brothers, etc.?

Please do ask them why women are not as welcome at Smith & Wesson as they are in much of corporate America. If you are a man or woman considering employment at Smith & Wesson, you are forewarned that you have some difficult moral sledding to do.

One of the eight Millennium Development Goals of our United Nations and thus inspiring a commitment from all seven billion of us is to “promote gender equality and empower women.” On this metric, this company fails its employees, the industry, Arizona, and the world miserably.

It would be great if a student could go to the annual meeting. During the question and answer session, please ask, “An investor from California asked me to present these questions. My friends, relatives and classmates at Arizona State University would like to hear the answers also. Why can’t we vote for or against more than one woman? Why is there only one woman on this board of directors?” Make contact and the proxy, your admission ticket, will be faxed to you.

 

Dirk Neyhart

State Press Reader

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