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Taxpayer to give extra £15,000 per year to engineering graduates… but only if they’re female

Yet more lunacy, part of a scheme costing the taxpayer £25 million:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25300669

From the article:

“Only around a quarter of students on engineering master’s courses are women,” said Brunel engineering lecturer, Petra Gratton. “Bluntly speaking, that has to change if UK engineering is going to continue to compete as successfully as it currently does… While some may see this as positive discrimination the stark reality is that UK plc can no longer afford not to exploit fully this enormous potential talent pool.”

Some may see this as positive discrimination? Who wouldn’t? Four out of seven unemployed people in the UK are men, unemployment is a major driver of suicide among men (more so than among women), three times more men than women in the UK commit suicide every year… and here we have one of the few remaining male-dominated professions discriminating against men. It’s time to join up the dots. In this and many other ways, the state is leading men to kill themselves in large numbers, although men collectively pay 72% of the income tax which largely finances the state.

It’s not just the state that’s relentlessly pursuing this direction of travel. Professional bodies in engineering and other male-dominated professions are discriminating again men, although men surely represent the majority of their existing membership. Our public challenge of Nick Baveystock, the director general of the Institution of Civil Engineers, remains unanswered to this day:

http://j4mb.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/our-public-challenge-to-nick-baveystock-director-general-of-the-institution-of-civil-engineers/

Qantas increases the number of women on its board and in its senior executive levels. Hurrah! S&P reduces Qantas’s credit rating to ‘junk’. Oops.

We now know a good deal about the impact of increasing female representation on corporate boards. Longitudinal studies (the only ones of any relevance, as they separate causation from correlation) of companies in the United States, Germany and Norway show it leads to corporate financial decline. Our briefing paper on the matter has the Abstracts and URLs of five such studies:

http://c4mb.wordpress.com/improving-gender-diversity-on-boards-leads-to-a-decline-in-corporate-performance-the-evidence/

Across the developed world major corporations are increasing female representation on their boards and senior executive levels, sometimes under government pressure, sometimes not. For anyone with an interest in this subject we suggest spending some time on the website of our associated initiative, Campaign for Merit in Business http://c4mb.wordpress.com.

We’re indebted to M, a supporter who lives in Eastern Europe, for pointing us to some intriguing pieces. He’s just come up with a new one, a real gem, relating to Qantas. From Wikipedia’s entry on the company:

Qantas Airways Limited is the flag carrier of Australia. The name was originally ‘QANTAS’, an acronym for ‘Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services’. Nicknamed ‘The Flying Kangaroo’, Qantas is Australia’s largest airline, the oldest continuously operated airline in the world, and the second oldest in the world overall… Qantas carries a 65% share of the Australian domestic market and carries 18.7% of all passengers travelling in and out of Australia.

Qantas has been going through turbulent times (pun intended). With fairly stable revenues and passenger numbers, it moved from an A$249 million profit after tax in 2010/11, to losses of A$244 million in 2011/12, and a derisory profit of just A$6 million in 2012/13. Also from Wikipedia:

In August 2011 the company announced that, due to financial losses and a decline in market share, major structural changes would be made. Up to 1,000 jobs would be lost in Australia…

The last thing Qantas would need in such difficult times would be time-consuming and distracting initiatives to drive up female representation on its board and senior executive levels. Under government pressure, however, that’s exactly what it’s faced for years, since at least 1999. Our thanks to M for pointing us to a 24-page document which will be depressing reading for any normal intelligent person – gender feminists, by contrast, will love it – Qantas’s 2011/12 report to the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA):

131207 Qantas 201112 report

To protect your sanity we’ve extracted from the document just a little of the content, from p.3:

Introduction

The Qantas Group is covered by the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999 (Commonwealth) and to comply with the Act is required to:

- Develop an equal opportunity for women in the workplace program

- Report annually (by 31 May) to the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) on the program and its effectiveness.

The report is being submitted on behalf of the Qantas Group and covers our workplace program gender diversity activities during the reporting period 1 April 2011 – 31 March 2012.

Diversity Highlights for 2011/2012 

Representation:

- The Qantas Board of Directors appointed one additional woman, increasing female representation to 25%, up by 8% since the last reporting period.

- Qantas has 57% female representation on the Qantas Foundation Board, as 4 of the 7 Directors are women.

- 2 of the 10 Directors of the Qantas Superannuation Board, including the Chairman are women, representing 20% of the Board.

- During the reporting period, the number of women employed on the Qantas Executive Committee (ExCo), reporting directly to the CEO increased to 3 or 27%. This is a significant increase from having zero representation 3 years ago in 2009.

- Qantas’ Company Secretary is female.

- The number of women in Senior Management roles (levels 2-4 in Table A) increased by 2% to 29% during the reporting period.

<End of extract. We apologise for inflicting that on you.>

So what’s been the consequence of the relentless march of women into senior roles at Qantas, both before and during the period in which the company has faced severe financial difficulties? Well, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) have just cut Qantas’s credit rating to ‘junk’ (link below). Oops.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25252286

In an effort to pour salt into Qantas’s wounds, Australia’s government is refusing to bail out the company, despite having assaulted it with gender diversity initiatives since at least 1999. We expect this matter will be resolved by an Asian company - probably a Chinese one – taking over Qantas, and immediately cancelling all such stupid initiatives. We assume that Australian feminists, and the politicians who’ve pandered to them for so long, are proud of having brought a once-great company to its knees.

As time goes on, across the developed world, we’ll see ever more examples of major companies being destroyed by gender diversity initiatives, and the Chinese in particular buying the assets at rock-bottom prices.

The forthcoming decline of the business sector in Germany

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.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/cdu-and-spd-agree-on-gender-quota-in-german-boardrooms-a-934155.html

Stuart Gulliver, Group Chief Executive of HSBC: sexist, racist and ageist

My thanks to J for pointing me to a piece (by a female journalist, needless to say) in the Guardian:

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/nov/08/hsbc-stuart-gulliver-women-in-banking

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.

Athena SWAN: an assault on scientific research and male scientists

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:

131105 Women in STEMM careers

Dr Jude Browne declines to answer a simple question

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:

131029 (two pages) handout for Cambridge presentation

A substantial number of women (and a few men) who looked like they’d been sucking on lemon slices refused to accept the document.

You’re invited to a forthcoming presentation by Dr Jude Browne, Director of Gender Studies at Cambridge University. We’re making public a challenge we recently put to her.

The following should be self-explanatory, and I hope to meet with you in Cambridge on the evening of 29 October.

131017 public challenge of Dr Jude Browne, Director of Gender Studies, Cambridge University

Why are David Cameron, Sir Roger Carr, Nick Baveystock, and Michel Landel assaulting men in the workplace?

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:

131015 Why are David Cameron..#3)

I invite you to email me mike@j4mb.org.uk or call me 07967 026163 with your thoughts on the subject. Thank you.

Our public challenge of Janet Street-Porter

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:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2447296/JANET-STREET-PORTER-Do-favour–ditch-soundbites-DO-something.html.

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:

http://c4mb.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/a-remarkable-statement-by-a-leading-proponent-of-improved-gender-diversity-in-the-boardroom/

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:

http://c4mb.wordpress.com/improving-gender-diversity-on-boards-leads-to-a-decline-in-corporate-performance-the-evidence/

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:

http://c4mb.wordpress.com/our-public-challenges-of-high-profile-proponents-of-improved-gender-diversity-in-boardrooms/

Michel Landel, CEO of Sodexo, is a director of Catalyst Inc., a feminist campaigning organisation. No, seriously, he is

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:

http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/people/people.asp?ticker=SDXOF

http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/people/person.asp?personId=327974&ticker=SDXOF

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:

http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=24914518

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:

http://j4mb.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/our-public-challenge-of-ilene-lang-president-and-ceo-of-catalyst-an-american-organisation-campaigning-for-increased-female-representation-in-boardrooms/

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:

http://c4mb.wordpress.com/improving-gender-diversity-on-boards-leads-to-a-decline-in-corporate-performance-the-evidence/

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.

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