[Updated 28 February 2013]
The Electoral Commission has just registered our political party, Justice for men & boys (and the women who love them). More on this later in this post.
Campaign for Merit in Business, which was launched early in 2012, has made a remarkable impact in a relatively short time. We’ve proven beyond all reasonable doubt that the ‘glass ceiling’ is a baseless conspiracy theory. Through exposing as fantasies, lies, delusions and myths, the arguments which said that increasing gender diversity in the boardroom (‘GDITB’) will improve corporate financial performance, we’ve destroyed the long-vaunted ‘business case’ for GDITB. We continue to publicise five longitudinal studies, all of which show that GDITB leads to declines in corporate financial performance. What else would we expect when businesses aren’t free to select the best people for their boards, regardless of gender? Proponents are left with little other than misrepresenting correlation as causation in pursuit of their social engineering programmes.
The Conservative-led coalition no longer challenges our assertion that the impact of GDITB on UK plc will inevitably be a negative one. And yet it continues to actively pursue GDITB. DBIS continues to refuse to have a minister meet with us. What might explain this extraordinary state of affairs? We believe there are a number of strands in the answer:
1. David Cameron has an exaggerated fear of the ‘women’s vote’. He showed his feminist-friendly credentials soon after coming to power in 2010 by appointing the Labour peer Lord Davies of Abersoch to report not on whether to give effect to GDITB, but on how to do so. Indeed he showed those credentials in the autumn of 2009, when he announced he was setting up some all-women prospective parliamentary candidate (‘PPC’) shortlists. I’d once worked for the party at their London HQ (2006-8) but resigned my party membership in the autumn of 2009 when David Cameron announced his willingness to introduce all-women PPC shortlists for the forthcoming general election. I was later informed, by a senior officer in the party, that I was far from alone in having done so.
2. The leading minister at DBIS, the Lib Dem MP Vince Cable, holds extreme left-wing views, and is on record as saying that if he were Prime Minister, 50% of his cabinet would be women. He has publicly used – in his speeches and writings – utterly discredited research ‘evidence’ in support of GDITB.
3. The CBI, which should be defending its members’ rights to appoint directors as they see fit, is a part of the problem. For some years it’s actively promoted GDITB. Its current President, Sir Roger Carr (chairman of Centrica) is on record as stating that while he doesn’t personally believe GDITB improves corporate financial performance, he thinks it improves meeting ‘atmospherics’.
4. GDITB is being pursued vigorously because FTSE100 companies are under threat of legislated quotas (Davies Report – 2011) if they don’t ‘voluntarily’ achieve 25% female representation on their boards by 2015. This has resulted in a more than fourfold increase in FTSE100 female director appointments, from 12% of new appointments before the quotas threat (2010) to 55% (2012). Virtually all of the new female appointments have been as NEDs, an indicator of how shallow the available pool of qualified women is compared with the available pool of qualified men.
5. For some years government inquiries into such matters, while seeming to be open, have been deeply flawed. The most obvious recent example was the 2012 House of Lords inquiry into ‘Women on Boards’ which heard only from witnesses in support of GDITB. Many were professionally involved in the initiative. The level of witness challenging by the peers, including the Conservatives, was embarrassing to watch. In our written evidence to the inquiry we included details of four longitudinal studies which show that GDITB harms corporate performance. The final inquiry report explicitly rejected the idea that GDITB can lead to declines in corporate performance, without explaining why. We wrote to the inquiry’s chairwoman, Conservative peer Baroness O’Cathain, asking for an explanation, and didn’t receive one.
6. The House of Commons inquiry into ‘Women in the Workplace’, to which we gave oral evidence, is still ongoing, and we’re hopeful of more attention being given to our evidence than was the case with the House of Lords inquiry. But virtually all the witnesses before this inquiry, as with the House of Lords inquiry, have been pro-GDITB. We’ve made formal complaints about the misleading testimonies of a number of ‘witnesses’, one of whom amended her evidence as a result.
[New entry, 22 July 2013: The report of a House of Commons inquiry – ‘Women in the Workplace’ – was outrageous in its curt dismissal of our evidence base and arguments, and those of the renowned sociologist Catherine Hakim. The committee blindly accepted feminist arguments in relation to the genders in the workplace, while traditional Conservative perspectives on issues such as meritocracy were nowhere to be seen. Our critique of the report is here.]
The area of GDITB is but one of many areas in which governments actively discriminate for women and against men, because they’re fearful of the potential impact of ‘women’s votes’. Let’s consider just one example of that discrimination. Two-thirds of public sector workers are women, and the Equality Act (2010) effectively enables public sector bodies to discriminate on the grounds of gender in terms of recruitment and promotion, where one gender is ‘under-represented’. In practise only women in the sector are using the legislation, and only to advance women. Positive discrimination on gender grounds is illegal, so the government terms the phenomenon ‘positive action’. It amounts to exactly the same thing in practice.
Men have signally failed to co-operate effectively to defend ‘men’s human rights’ over many years, but this is changing. Politicians of all parties have left us with no choice. We’ve taken the only logical step. We’ve formed a political party to challenge the government in numerous policy areas – including GDITB – where there’s relentless special treatment for women at the expense of men. I shall lead the party.
On 30 December the leading broadcaster and Daily Mail columnist Quentin Letts exclusively revealed our intention to launch the party.
If you believe in this cause, then please support us by making a donation or possibly by making a contribution in other ways. A qualified accountant has taken care of finances both before and since the party’s establishment. 100% of donations will be used to finance our campaigning work. Nobody associated with this campaign or our party derives any personal income from donations. Thank you for your interest in our work.
This is the first time we’ve presented this award to a senior civil servant. Ms Beckett’s award certificate, with details on why she’s won the award, is here.
Over the past four years I’ve read many reports purporting to show (or implying) a causal link between increased female representation on boards, and enhanced financial performance. All the widely-cited ones of which I’m aware (McKinsey, Credit Suisse, Reuters Thomson, Catalyst…) have had a line or two in the fine print, explaining that the reported correlation doesn’t indicate causation, and (in the more honest reports) that it can’t be taken to even imply causation.
Following our award of a Gormless Feminist of the Month award to Grant Thornton’s Francesca Lagerberg yesterday, we’ve track down the Grant Thornton report she was citing in her BBC radio interview yesterday – Women in Business: the value of diversity. It starts with these words by Ms Lagerberg:
Renewable energy and board diversity: two very different but topical issues with shared challenges. People generally accept that the world needs to move away from fossil fuels; that we can’t go on as we are; that collectively it’s our duty to make progress and clean up our act.
However, unknowns over performance remain: can we rely on renewables when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow? Upfront costs are higher, so how long will it take for the savings to feed through? In the same way, we know there is a moral imperative to get more women on the boards of companies [Note – we KNOW there is a moral imperative?] – that the status quo is the product of a bygone era.
But what about financial performance? Do companies with diverse boards really perform better than those run purely by men, which currently dominate the corporate landscape? The answer is yes: they perform better. Materially better.
It is quite the most woeful report on this topic I’ve ever seen from a major organization, and while a causal link is clearly implied throughout the report, the casual reader could be forgiven for failing to notice that no causal link has been demonstrated, and the lack of a causal link has not been indicated. It is a shameless feminist propaganda piece, nothing more. Grant Thornton need to recognize it as such, and fast, before the company becomes a laughing stock.
We’re about to email this letter to Samantha Beckett. We’ve given her until 2 October to respond to our public challenge.
Some months ago we sent a public challenge to Sajid Javid MP, Business Secretary, concerning the government’s bullying of FTSE100 companies into appointing more women onto their boards, despite unequivocal evidence (from longitudinal studies) of a causal link between driving up female representation on boards, and corporate financial decline.
The response from his department was ridiculous in the extreme, and I took many hours to critique it. I included that critique in a letter to DBIS, asking for an internal review. Our blog post with the associated documents is here.
We’ve just received an email with the outcome of that ‘review’. The letter was signed by Samantha Beckett – ‘Sam’ – Director General, Economics & Markets, and she could not have engaged less with the substantive points we’re making. It is nothing short of contemptuous. She repeats some of the points made in previous communications, which we’ve shown to be demonstrably wrong.
She ends the letter with this:
In compliance with the Act, I have conducted an internal review of the original response. In performing that review I have considered whether the original response to your request was correct.
I have carefully considered the scope of material held by the Department (BIS) which potentially falls within the ambit of your request i.e. the “evidence base”. The Act gives you the right to request information held by BIS. BIS is not, however, required to create new information (e.g. by producing new synthesis of reports) in order to answer a request. Nor is it required to reinterpret information which has been published or which it does not hold but which is available commercially elsewhere.
BIS is also not required to release information which will shortly be published if, in the department’s views, the public interest in disclosing the information is outweighed by the public interest considerations in favour of withholding the information.
Having considered the information provided in the response and in the light of your request for an internal review, I have concluded that the response met the requirements of the Act.
We shall be taking the matter to the Information Commissioner, and hope to get some engagement there.
An interesting piece by Gerald Warner for The Conservative Woman website. My only quibble would be with the title, presumably not chose by Warner himself. Cultural Marxism colonised Western boardrooms years ago. We need only observe the craven capitulation of FTSE100 companies to the government’s demands for more women on their boards, following the Davies Report (2011), for evidence of that fact.
6oodfella is a Scotsman, and one of my favourite audio and video bloggers. At times he’s had me in tears, laughing. A post we’ve just published – about women in male-dominated workplaces – started me thinking about pieces we’ve published about female-dominated workplaces. About 18 months ago 6oodfella posted an audio commentary on a newspaper article written by Samantha Brick, who’d started a TV production company with a policy of hiring only women. What could possibly go wrong? Enjoy.
Give me strength. From the article:
Previous findings have shown that working in male-dominated places can cause social isolation for women. It has also been linked with performance pressures, sexual harassment, and obstacles to professional mobility.
Women also report experiencing moments of both high visibility and apparent invisibility, as well as doubts about their competence.
‘… can cause social isolation for women.’ Hold on, are we talking about working environments here, or places to go for a chat with other women?
‘Women also report experiencing moments of both high visibility and apparent invisibility…’. Why, those heartless patriarchs! In some moments paying women their full attention, in other moments paying them no attention. Have they not read the Patriarchy Council guidance note 2015/781, ‘Female colleagues: How to ensure they’re never made to feel uncomfortable’?
Some sanity in the comments section, from a woman:
Rubbish! I’ve worked in all female offices and hated it. Currently in an all male team and love it. I’m not a token woman and never been made to feel that either. I’m happy and productive and less stressed than I’ve ever been. Stop the man bashing!!
A man responded to her comment:
Thank you. I can safely say that the women who work with me feel the same, we all just do our jobs. The annoying thing is, I’ve not witnessed sexism in the workplace ever, but I guess it must be rife if it’s always in the papers.