The well-respected London paper, Evening Standard, has a lady editor, and they’ve recently been giving some column inches to the matter of ‘women on boards’. I wasn’t too hopeful of getting exposure for this campaign in the paper – not long ago they published a truly awful full-page article by Comrade Cable – so I was pleased to be contacted by one of their senior journalists on Wednesday evening, with a view to me penning a letter. My final letter has been heavily but expertly edited, and the following letter appeared in yesterday’s edition. The uplift in hits on this blog has been good to see.
Choose boards on merit only
While many proponents of greater female representation on boards such as Helena Morrissey don’t support quotas, they haven’t raised their voices against the threat of quotas if FTSE companies don’t ‘voluntarily’ hit the 25 per cent Government target by 2015. This has already skewed the corporate landscape – 14 per cent of FTSE100 director appointments in 2010 were women compared with 44 per cent in 2012, yet all this year’s new female directors have been non-execs while all the new executive directors have been men.
We have challenged large numbers of organisations and individuals including the Prime Minister for evidence of the benefits of having women on boards. None have provided us with a shred. Only two studies demonstrate a link between women on boards and corporate performance – both showed declines.
Mike Buchanan, Campaign for Merit in Business