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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Annoyed at 2 more males on the board at work

18 replies

HalfMumHalfBiscuit · 12/01/2011 20:49

A reorganisation at work has lead to 2 new male directors making a total of 10 male directors and 0 female directors.

The company has over 500 staff, is international and has a nearly 50/50 split of males/females. It is part of a much larger global organisation in the energy industry.

A number of females have commented their disappointment at the lack of women on the board. This was reported at the last staff meeting and the directors response was that it was unintentional, based on their skills and not sexist.

One female manager was leap-frogged by a male member of staff who is now on the board. She had the experience and skills to be a decent board member.

The new directors are favourites of the current directors and did not go through any interview or selection process.

What can be done to improve the chances of women to get on boards. We have too few women managers and project managers.

This was an opportunity to redress the balance and I am very disappointed that this is the case in 2011.

Any ideas of how to improve this situation?

OP posts:
edam · 12/01/2011 20:54

How depressing. Oh it just so happens the best person for the job is a man, ten times, does it?

The Fawcett Society website might be a good place to start. Or any unions or professional associations in that field. You could also try the Equalities Commission website, or ACAS for guidance on fair recruitment. Lack of interview or selection process is Not On At All and may well leave them open to challenge at an employment tribunal. ACAS has details of employment law that might be helpful here.

HalfMumHalfBiscuit · 12/01/2011 21:00

A load of the women at work are feeling pretty down about it.

They are thinking that there is no opportunity for career progression in the future there are no female role models on the board etc etc.

Thanks Edam I'll take a look.

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edam · 12/01/2011 22:14

Good luck... (love the username, btw, happy memories)

flyingcloud · 13/01/2011 15:42


We might work for the same company (although that couldn't be possible).

I am thinking of taking this to the female senior managers in my company to see what they will say, but I am fairly sure they will shy away from the issue.

I am battling and have battled rampant sex discrimination in my company. It is just so depressing.

mackereltaitai · 13/01/2011 15:46

No selection process? That sounds wrong Sad

HalfMumHalfBiscuit · 13/01/2011 20:09

I've looked at a couple of those websites but not sure how they can help the situation. Do I print out some laws and put them on the MD's desk?? I did complain to the staff council along with 8 other women but I don't really see what they will do with it.

Am doubly peed off today as just found out that my Dsis who is pg is not even on their companies new re-organisation charts.

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HalfMumHalfBiscuit · 13/01/2011 20:53

bumping as feeling wound up.

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flyingcloud · 13/01/2011 21:40

Me too! Will bump for you too.

GRRRR. Having been having very introspective thoughts all day about the apparent inequality in my workplace.

HalfMumHalfBiscuit · 14/01/2011 09:41

Thanks flying.

So annoying. This is 2011 FFS!

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togarama · 14/01/2011 11:10

V. depressing.

My employer sounds similar in size and purpose to yours. I just took a look at the "revised" board diagram for 2011 which came round this morning, hoping for an improved gender balance - still almost entirely white, middle-aged men.

There's a couple of women at first glance but at least one has only been included on the board diagram to make it look more diverse (she's actually a more junior "observer" rather than full board member) and the other is only temporarily covering a vacancy.

Junior and middle-management at our company is 50/50 men and women. The imbalance only arises at the most senior level but its ridiculously pronounced.

How inspiring for all the young women in their 20s and 30s, and how fair to all the excellent senior female staff in their 40s and 50s who have been leapfrogged by junior male colleagues...

flyingcloud · 14/01/2011 11:40

My company are quite clearly giving out a message. They want women to stay in junior positions. They do not want to encourage women to aim for senior positions. I was turned down for promotion 'because the job is better suited to a man'.

Sadly I am in no position to take this on. I am far too scared. DH and I work in a very specialised area and if I was to challenge this I would seriously damage our future prospects.

edam · 14/01/2011 20:58

that stinks, flying. They are quite blatantly breaking the law - and know they will get away with it because people are too scared to challenge them. Grrrr.

vesuvia · 15/01/2011 12:10

HalfMumHalfBiscuit, I am saddened and disappointed to read about the situation with the board of your employer.

You wrote "The new directors are favourites of the current directors and did not go through any interview or selection process."

Unfortunately, it seems that the new directors did go though an interview and selection process (even though it was not open, fair or professional) - the "old boys' network".

According to The Female FTSE Board Report 2010 by Cranfield University School of Management, only 12.5 percent of FTSE 100 company directors are female. That is an increase of a 0.3 percent on the previous year. If that rate of increase is maintained, it will take be many decades to increase substantially the presence of women on the boards of top UK companies.

By the way, that FTSE report was sponsored by a large FTSE 100 company that has a board which is 82% male, 18% female.

HalfMumHalfBiscuit · 05/03/2011 19:53

As an update, this issue was brought up in a staff meeting and the board response was 'no we are not sexist at all' and that if any female is interested in progressing their career they should make it known in their appraisal. I should point out that many people don't even get their yearly appraisal. Also the appraisal of the women wanting to progress on to the board (i.e the two women in senior positions in the company) would be held by those already on the board and I shouldn't think they would say 'ok then you can join the board if you are interested'.

I did write a note to be read out at the meeting citing the FTSE report but it was not read by the male staff rep I gave it too Angry.

OP posts:
dittany · 05/03/2011 20:00

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HalfMumHalfBiscuit · 05/03/2011 20:11

It was asked how they were recruited. It sounds like the old board selected people then these were brought in for a chat and then hey presto got the jobs. They also selected a couple of managers to replace the ones that were becoming board members (again with no formal interview process).

Cant remember if they describe women as 'females' or not. It wouldn't surprise me though.

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dittany · 05/03/2011 20:17

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HalfMumHalfBiscuit · 05/03/2011 20:25

I am still annoyed about them overlooking 'females' but word on the street is that the company is doing badly and the directors are not well thought of by the parent company. I am hoping that 'females' will have the chance to be on a future, more successful board.

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