Not Enough Women in UK Board Rooms
In the UK, a new report has been unveiled showing that women hold only 12% of board room positions in their FTSE 100 companies. Half of FTSE 250 companies have no female directors at all!
Image credit to: okeefew
Lord Mervyn Davies, who headed the government-ordered review, firmly believes that in order for any company to perform well, they must have a variety of voices from varied backgrounds and education. He doesn’t seem to think that the UK is keeping up with the rest of Europe, where the average percentage of board room members being female is up to 40%. UK companies could be missing out.
The top companies in the UK are urged to double the number of women in their boardrooms by 2015 to at least 24%. The review calls on the companies to produce a progress report by 2012. Many think that Davies hasn’t gone far enough, basically saying that without quotas, companies will not be induced to make changes. However, Davies doesn’t think that quotas are the way to go, saying it becomes an issue of “tokenism,” which, apparently, women don’t like! It’s right up there with “trophy wife.”
But not only was Davies promoting equal opportunities, he was promoting business. Davies points out that "There is growing evidence to show that diverse boards are better, delivering financial out-performance and stock market growth." Apparently, a business man first, a feminist second.
The report did not just require companies to hire more women, but requests that companies state their new hiring practices in the next six months and stick to them so quotas don’t have to be implemented. Additionally FTSE 350 companies should disclose how many women employees they have from top to bottom. Maybe full disclosure will urge companies to comply.
My first reaction, as a woman, is that I wouldn’t want doubt hanging over my head as to why I was employed. I wouldn’t want to get the stink eye from my coworkers every time I fumbled or made a mistake, all of them wondering if I was a bumbling idiot hired because of my gender.