It seems I was premature in declaring a small victory had been won in the battle against the ideological goal of ‘improved’ gender balance in the boardroom. I’d inferred from broadsheet newspaper reports that Theresa May, Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, had written to EU Commissioner Viviane Reding opposing EU imposition of quotas for women in the boardroom, that this was the government’s revised domestic position also. I was wrong, it now seems. I’m grateful to Fred for pointing me towards the following article on yesterday’s Mail Online. It concerns the coalition’s ultra-Leftie Business Secretary, and the piece is titled, “Firms face compulsory quotas if they don’t put women in top jobs, insists Vince Cable”:
Businesses could be hit with compulsory quotas to increase the number of women on boards unless they raise the number voluntarily, said Vince Cable. The Business Secretary said he was ready to introduce legal targets if firms had failed to ensure a quarter of executives at board level were female by 2015. He also suggested that if he were prime minister, half of the Cabinet would be women.
More women should be promoted in the boardroom under guidelines being pushed by The Business Secretary. Mr Cable said there were encouraging signs that firms were beginning to heed calls for gender equality – revealing figures suggesting that in the past three months, half of new appointments to FTSE company boards have been women.
He said he planned to ‘name and shame’ companies that fail to make further progress. One in ten of Britain’s biggest firms still has all-male boards. ‘It’s very, very important that women are there in numbers,’ Mr Cable said. ‘Our objective is to get a quarter of all board membership being women by 2015. Our current approach, which is trying to change the culture, trying to name and shame, I think will work. If it doesn’t, we can look at things like quotas. There is a body called the Financial Reporting Council that requires companies to declare publicly what they do. So companies will be in the future publicly identified and there will then be a role for me to go out and say publicly, “This is a disgrace, you should change your behaviour”.’
Asked whether he would introduce quotas if that approach failed to deliver the target figures, the Business Secretary said: ‘I would, yes. I think that’s a perfectly legitimate last resort. But I think the current approach that we have adopted is beginning to produce serious results, so let’s give it a chance.’
The EU has announced a consultation on how to increase women’s presence on corporate boards, warning that progress towards equality is too slow. Mandatory quotas are being threatened if member states fail to make sufficient progress. The EU’s Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding, has warned that on current rates of change, it will take more than 40 years for women to hold 40 per cent of board positions in Europe’s publicly traded companies.
In Britain, companies are working towards a voluntary target to increase the percentage of women on FTSE 100 boards to 25 per cent, up from 12.5 per cent last year. But business leaders have warned against compulsory quotas. On BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour the Business Secretary also took a swipe at David Cameron’s failure to meet an aspiration that a third of his ministers should be women. There are five women – all Conservative – in the Cabinet.
In a reference to the new French president’s decision to make half of his top team female, Mr Cable said: ‘If I ever finish up in Mr Cameron’s job, and who knows what could happen, you might well get a Francois Hollande moment.’
Meanwhile, Tory MP Peter Bone demanded that Vince Cable be sacked from the Cabinet after it emerged that the Business Secretary was in contact with Labour to discuss a possible alliance following the next election. At the weekend it was revealed that Mr Cable had held phone conversations with Labour leader Ed Miliband.
The appointment of a noted Leftie to such an important position, and the fact he’s still there, are indicators of how left-wing and feminist-friendly David Cameron is himself. I was warning of this two years ago, and herewith give you a chapter titled, ‘David Cameron: heir to Harman?’ from The Glass Ceiling Delusion: