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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Women on Boards

2 replies

ForkfulOfTabouleh · 08/03/2011 23:56

Don't think I have seen a thread on the recent Report by Lord Davies entitled "Women on Boards".

The reporting on the actual report was not great. I know I saw a thread about the Nicola Horlick article.

The media report is pretty good and I feel the mainstream media buried the issue a bit as "corporate governance" is put into a box labelled "too difficult".

Whilst quotas were not recommended I think that the recommendations are pretty good and there is some evidence that these are being acted upon and will form part of the corporate governance code.

NB some good discussion on quotas for boards etc on the MN goes to the European Parliament thread.

OP posts:
TeiTetua · 09/03/2011 01:14

Oh gosh, I thought it meant Internet discussion boards. Silly me...

StillSquiffy · 09/03/2011 18:02

I think the media were hoping for something more hard-hitting and so they went a bit shruggy shoulders when it came out. The reporting has been very light to say the least.

TBH though I think the recommendations will have quite an impact especially as he has now more or less forced companies to make quota statements in their annual reports and they will probably now start feeling very pressured to come clean on their actual numbers. The 2013 and 2015 lines in the sand also suggest to me that there are plans afoot to use this as a possible electoral issue come the next elections, and I like that he's done it.

With regards to gender imbalance specifically, I am v close to the board of a very major (15,000 staff+) company that is very high profile. We've been very actively readdressing the issue in-depth for last year and have refined our own strategic view and plans in this area, and I suspect that many companies will follow the stance that this particular company is planning to do - introduce 'expectations' and then monitor where in the business those expactations are not met.

TBH I have reservations even if we publish and name/shame: I think that people will make excuses, rather than change behaviours. Especially because - having been at Director level in a number of firms - I absolutely believe that the larger companies are happy to promote women, and are generally becoming much more aware of their own biases. The problem however is that (a) Most mothers struggle to commit to the additional hours that most senior roles require and (b) even with a level playing field, many senior roles require (in addition to technical demands of the specific role itself) people who are great networkers and great negotiators and quite assertive - skills which research suggest men have a head start in (generally) compared to women. Both of these make me think that promotions will be 'in the bag' for women who act like men (working round the clock and being a bit blokey) but that women in the normal bell-curve who are nevertheless very competent and additive to a boardroom will struggle to stomach what it takes to get there.

So I think the default position will be that firms will use the lack of applications as an excuse for lack of representation, without fundamentally changing the model to make such roles more appealing to women.

By the way, I laughed like a drain at concept of headhunters policing the whole thing.

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