Our thanks to a supporter in Eastern Europe for alerting us to this. During negotiations to form a coalition government German politicians – mostly female ones, it would seem – have agreed to assault the country’s business sector through introducing gender quotas for corporate boards, in order to advance the careers of women unable to get appointed to those boards on the basis of their merits. How proud these women will be to reach corporate boards on the basis of owning the ’correct’ genitals.
My thanks to J for pointing me to a piece (by a female journalist, needless to say) in the Guardian:
Stuart Gulliver, 54, Group Chief Executive of HSBC, calls his industry ‘male, pale and stale’, managing to fit into just four words sexism, racism, and ageism. The four women on his bank’s board – out of a total of 17 directors – are all non-executives. Does that alone not tell this man anything?
So, what is known about the impact of increasing women on banking boards? In our briefing paper on the impact of increasing female representation on boards http://c4mb.wordpress.com/improving-gender-diversity-on-boards-leads-to-a-decline-in-corporate-performance-the-evidence/ we have links to the reports from five longitudinal studies. All five studies showed that increasing female representation on boards leads to corporate financial decline. One should be of particular interest to Stuart Gulliver, maybe he could read the report when he’s next on his travels. It’s a study of German banks over a period of 16 years:
Executive board composition and bank risk taking (2012) (Deutsche Bundesbank Discussion Paper, 03/2012)
Professor Allen N. Berger (University of South Carolina, Wharton Financial Institutions Center and Tilburg University), Thomas Kick (Deutsche Bundesbank), Professor Klaus Schaeck (Bangor University).
The researchers studied German banks over 1994-2010. The paper’s full Abstract:
Little is known about how socio-economic characteristics of executive teams affect corporate governance in banking. Exploiting a unique dataset, we show how age, gender, and education composition of executive teams affect risk taking of financial institutions. First, we establish that age, gender, and education jointly affect the variability of bank performance. Second, we use difference-in-difference estimations that focus exclusively on mandatory executive retirements and find that younger executive teams increase risk taking, as do board changes that result in a higher proportion of female executives [my emphasis]. In contrast, if board changes increase the representation of executives holding Ph.D. degrees, risk taking declines.
It never ceases to amaze us how many women (and all feminists) shamelessly present narratives which are plainly contradictory. The contradictions can only be ‘resolved’ through the invention of conspiracy theories, fantasies, lies, delusions and myths e.g. the ‘glass ceiling’, the ‘glass cliff’, the ‘glass coffee table’… we may have made one of those up. These are two such narratives (selected from a large number):
Women are as strong, intelligent, capable, and hard-working as men!
Women need supportive legislation and relentless taxpayer-funded initiatives to drive them into senior positions, and into professions they’ve historically avoided!
For many years social engineering initiatives – largely taxpayer-funded – have been operating (with minimal mainstream media interest and exposure) to advantage women and disadvantage men with respect to recruitment and promotion in the workplace. ‘Athena SWAN’ is a key initiative with regards to research in STEMM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine). We thank Dr John Barry for providing us with information on this matter:
My warm thanks to the six supporters and donors who came out on a chilly evening last Tuesday to attend Dr Jude Browne’s talk on quotas for corporate boards at Cambridge University. It was predictably dreary stuff, and I didn’t detect so much as one sentence suggesting that differences in gender outcomes might be (even in part) the result of gender-typical choices. Her ‘solution’ to the gender ‘problem’ on boards was to have major companies monitor gender balance at every level, and where there was an apparent failure of one gender to advance, the company would be required to justify it. She specifically mentioned the layer beneath the corporate board. If implemented it would be at considerable cost to companies, but on the bright side it would doubtless provide employment for thousands of professional feminists.
The Q&A session lasted only 15 minutes but I managed to introduce myself to the audience (about 200 people, I’d say), said a few words about J4MB and C4MB, and made the point that I could scarcely believe a talk could be given on the topic in question without mentioning Catherine Hakim’s Preference Theory.
I then asked Dr Browne the question we sent her in an email almost two weeks ago. Her lips pursed at this point, I’m pleased to report. We’d sent her the evidence showing that increased female representation on boards leads to corporate performance decline, then posed this question:
If the evidence shows that increasing female representation on boards leads to corporate financial decline, would that be a price worth paying?
She may be a political theorist but her reply was worthy of the most evasive politician. She spoke for two or three minutes, and still didn’t answer the question. I put my hand up to ask it again but wasn’t given the opportunity by the (male) Pro Vice Chancellor who was chairing the meeting.
Afterwards we managed to hand out about 100 flyers:
A substantial number of women (and a few men) who looked like they’d been sucking on lemon slices refused to accept the document.
The following should be self-explanatory, and I hope to meet with you in Cambridge on the evening of 29 October.
I’ve been thinking a lot of late about the economic emasculation of men which is taking place across the developed and developing worlds. The first in a series of articles on the subject:
I invite you to email me email@example.com or call me 07967 026163 with your thoughts on the subject. Thank you.
British followers of this blog will need no reminding who the vociferous feminist Janet Street-Porter is. This is a woman so full of self-satisfaction that she said on the TV programme Loose Women not long ago:
I’m very intelligent. I’m not boasting, I am very intelligent.
Well, if she’s intelligent, she’s living proof that intelligent people can say (and write) some very stupid things. She excelled herself today in her Daily Mail column, more specifically in the first section:
The gender pay gap commentary is so uninformed and erroneous that I can’t be bothered even to comment on it, let alone challenge it. Life’s too short. Many people have shown the ‘gap’ to be fully accountable by issues such as lines of work, industry sectors, levels of seniority, unsociable working hours and conditions, danger of risk to life and limb (126 of the 128 workplace-related deaths last year were of men) and the like. Yet the myth rolls on, year after year.
Our public challenge relates to something she wrote in the piece, which is equally uninformed and erroneous. She wrote:
I want both sexes to be treated equally and given the same chances, because research shows that more women in charge produces better results for business.
The first part of the statement is itself uninformed and erroneous – women are treated equally and given the same chances - and anyone who doubts this is invited to read Susan Pinker’s The Sexual Paradox or my own The Glass Ceiling Delusion. Our public challenge relates to the second part of her statement:
… research shows that more women in charge produces better results for business.
Campaign for Merit in Business (‘C4MB’) has been in existence since May 2012, and we know of no such ‘research’. Professor Susan Vinnicombe, the head of the Cranfield International Centre for Women Leaders, for many years the most prominent academic proponent of increased female representation on corporate boards, admitted before a House of Lords inquiry in July 2012 that she knew of no such research:
She stated to the inquiry:
… there has been quite a push in the past – indeed, we ourselves have engaged in such research – to look at the relationship between having women on corporate boards and financial performance. We do not subscribe to this research. We have shared it with chairmen and they do not think that it makes sense. We agree that it does not make sense. You cannot correlate two or three women on a massive corporate board with a return on investment, return on equity, turnover or profits. We have dropped such research in the past five years and I am pleased to say that Catalyst, which claims to have done a ground-breaking study on this in the US, officially dropped this line of argument last September.
We’re not aware of a single study or report, from anywhere in the world, which shows a causal link between more women on boards and improved corporate financial performance. All reports of which we’re aware, which show correlations, make it perfectly clear that correlations aren’t proof of causation, and they don’t even imply causation. There are far more plausible explanations of those correlations than some ‘gender effect’ fantasy’.
C4MB, on the other hand, has given a lot of exposure to five longitudinal studies (analysing companies in the United States, Germany and Norway) which clearly show a link between increased female representation on boards, and declines in corporate financial performance. Our short briefing paper on the studies, with their full Abstracts:
Over the course of 17 months we’ve invited the government, CBI, Chartered Management Institute, and dozens of other organisations (and hundreds of individuals) who support increasing the proportion of women in boardrooms to challenge these five studies, or to provide evidence of a causal link between increased female representation on boards and improved financial performance. Collectively they’ve provided us with nothing.
By her own estimation Janet Street Porter is a very intelligent woman, so I’m sure she’ll be able to provide the evidence to back her assertion that ‘… research shows that more women in charge produces better results for business.’ I’m about to email her a link to this public challenge, and I’ll ask her to respond by 5pm on 14 October 2013. If she fails to do so, I look forward to adding her to our ‘Hall of Shame’ which consists of proponents of increased female representation on boards who’ve failed to respond to similar public challenges in the past. A small selection:
Now this is definitely one for the ‘You couldn’t make this stuff up!’ file.
My thanks to Ken for forwarding me a couple of Bloomberg links a moment ago. The first is a profile of the French multinational, Sodexo, the second a profile of Michel Landel, the company’s CEO:
Monsieur Landel’s estimated annual compensation is around £2.7 million – fair enough, Sodexo is a very large company. But the detail in the profile which struck me most forcefully was that he’s also a director of Catalyst Inc. My first thought was, ‘Well, that’s surely not Catalyst, the feminist organisation which campaigns for more women on boards, and whose reports showing a correlation between more women on boards and improved financial performance are still used to this day by people misrepresenting correlation as causation?’
To my utter astonishment, it is the same organisation. Bloomberg’s profile of Catalyst:
I see Ilene Lang (‘Ms’ Ilene Lang, needless to say) remains the CEO of Catalyst Inc at the age of 69. She has yet to respond to a public challenge we made a year ago:
Does Monsieur Landel, a leading businessman earning £2.7 million p.a., not understand the difference between correlation and causation? Or is he supporting the drive for more women on boards because he’s unaware of the evidence that this policy direction must harm his company’s financial performance in time, at the expense of Sodexo’s shareholders? Our briefing paper on the matter:
Senior business executives, both men and women, are actively destroying a cornerstone of capitalism – the right of companies to appoint board directors as they see fit. What times we live in. We look forward to the Left finding a wealth-generating system to replace capitalism when the feminists have finally destroyed it, with the keen support of men such as Monsieur Landel, David Cameron, Vince Cable, Sir Roger Carr… too many to name.
[Update 1.10.13: this blog post has just been emailed to Debbie White's PA.]
Ms White, good afternoon. I lead the political party Justice for men & boys (and the women who love them) http://j4mb.org.uk and Campaign for Merit in Business http://c4mb.wordpress.com which campaigns against quotas (and the threat of quotas, as we currently have in the UK) to increase female representation on corporate boards. The reasons for the latter campaign is simple. There’s no evidence of a causal link between increasing female representation on boards and improved corporate financial performance, but plenty of evidence of a causal link with a decline in performance. Our briefing paper on the matter:
We’ve challenged the government, CBI, dozens of organisations (and hundreds of individuals) to provide evidence of a casual link between increased female representation on boards and enhanced financial performance, and they’ve collectively come up with NOTHING. Even Vince Cable has stopped making claims of a link, in public at least.
Proponents of ‘more women on boards’ tend to offer studies and reports (Catalyst, McKinsey, Credit Suisse, Reuters Thomson…) which show correlations, but on closer inspection all these studies and reports (to the best of our knowledge) make it clear that correlation isn’t proof of causation, nor does it even imply causation. Even Ilene Lang, President/CEO of Catalyst, was unable or unwilling to rise to a public challenge we made in October 2012:
We understand from articles in HR Magazine and Mail Online that you favour the introduction of quotas for women on corporate boards, so we are today making the following public challenge to you:
Campaign for Merit in Business is unaware of any reports or studies showing that companies can expect to improve corporate financial performance as a result of increasing female representation on their boards, and we’ve supplied you with details of five longitudinal studies showing that the result is declines in corporate financial performance. If you challenge these assertions, could you please explain why, and provide evidence of a positive causal link if you have any such evidence? If you don’t challenge the assertions, could you please explain why you support quotas for women on boards, given one consequence will be lower returns for shareholders? Do you believe a declines in financial performance, and lower returns for shareholders, are acceptable prices to pay for increasing female representation on corporate boards?
I look forward to a response to this challenge by 5pm next Monday, 7 October. Thank you.
You may be interested in a piece we posted a little earlier this afternoon:
Will the insane policy direction of driving up female representation on boards, despite the strong evidence it will damage companies, never cease? It would seem not. A supporter has pointed me to a piece in ‘HR Magazine’ concerning Debbie White, CEO of Sodexo UK & Ireland, publicly coming out in favour of quotas for women on boards:
Mail Online has covered the matter in a very superficial manner:
The journalist Louise Eccles firstname.lastname@example.org cites a ‘new report’ but fails to say what it is. She then quotes data from Catalyst whose reports have been widely misused by proponents of more women on boards.
I’ll now write and send a public challenge to Debbie White, asking her why there should be more women on boards when the evidence base shows this policy direction will damage Sodexo’s performance and in turn the shareholders’ returns. I’ll give her a week to respond, and if she doesn’t, we’ll add this to The List of Shame: