Women don’t fit well in the space, most of them don’t want to do a great job, and they do not understand the complex issues that are discussed at Council meetings. This, according to the leaders of the largest companies in the UK that offered excuses to explain why their offices are male dominated.
Minister for enterprise Andrew Griffiths, responding to a report published by his office on Wednesday, describing the comments as “pathetic and patronizing”, as he sought to show how far the FTSE 350 firms have to go to diversity at the top level.
According to the Ministry of enterprise, energy and industrial strategies, the excuses included:
- “I don’t think women fit in the Council on the environment”
- “There aren’t many women with the correct credentials and experience to sit on the Board, the issues included an extremely complicated”
- “Most women don’t want to do or pressure while sitting on the Board”
- “Shareholders are not interested in the Board, so why should we?”
- “My other colleagues the Council does not want to appoint a woman on our Board”
- “All the “good” women have already been snapped up”
- “We have one woman already on Board, so we made is someone else’s turn”
- “No vacancies at the moment – if I had, I would have thought on the appointment of women”
- “We need to build the pipeline from the bottom – there just aren’t enough older women in this sector”
- “I can’t just nominate a woman, because I want to”
Amanda Mackenzie, Executive Director of the business community, an organization that Champions corporate social responsibility, said, “As you read this list of excuses, you think it’s 1918, not 2018. It sounds like a script from a Comedy parody, but it’s true. Of course, we can now solve this once and for all. Maybe those who believe that these excuses are the ones that do not sit on the boards and needs to move: we are in the 21st century in the end.”
Quick guide facts and figures on the situation of women in the Board of Directors
Top 350 UK companies
The number of women Directors 292
A room with two or more 5
Top 350 UK companies: men women
No, not the XO of Directors 1,616; 684
No Executive Directors 685; 63
Heads 335; 15
At the ftse100 top 5 companies (% of female Directors)
On the ftse100 the male-only Executive committees (one level below the Board)
% of female Directors of leading companies listed (exec and not Exec) – international comparison (*legislative quotas introduced)
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An independent HAMPTON-Alexander review headed by sir Philip HAMPTON, one of Britain’s most respected bosses, who challenged all FTSE 350 companies to ensure at least a third of their Board members and leadership of women by 2020.
He said such excuses, as those were covered in the government report sounded less now than a few years ago. “Nevertheless, the leaders expressed warm words of support, but really very little to appoint women to high positions – or block progress – in fact not much better.”
The Ministry of business, noted that there were some more tangible progress in recent years, with the increase in the number of women on boards of Directors, having “more than twice in the FTSE 350 in 2011”, according to the latest statistics, released in November last year. “During this time, the number of male FTSE 350 boards of the company also fell from 152 to 10”, – he said.
• This article was amended on 31 may 2018. An earlier version of the so-called Ministry of enterprise, energy and industrial strategy, the Ministry of business, innovation and skills.