Our public challenge of Helena Morrissey

Regular visitors to this blog will be very familiar with the role of Helena Morrissey (CEO of Newton Investment Management, founder of the 30% club, mother of 9 children, champion kick-boxer – I may have made one of those up) in the whole gender diversity in the boardroom debate. Only recently I described her as the doyenne of the movement in the UK, and arguably beyond. So I was interested to read her reaction to the recent announcement that the EC is dropping its plans to introduce legislation to financially punish EU-based companies which don’t meet legislated gender quotas. We’ll put up a blog on this matter when fuller details are made available. We can be sure that Viviane Reding, EC Justice Commissioner, won’t let the matter lie.

Helena Morrissey’s reaction to the news:


I was particularly intrigued by the following line:

The threat of a legislated quota has been an unwelcome distraction in recent months…

This is ironic, given that what’s increased the proportion of new FTSE100 directorships going to women more than fourfold in two years, has been the UK government’s continuing threats of legislated quotas, reflecting the 2011 Davies report recommendation of legislated quotas if FTSE100 companies don’t reach 25% female representation on their boards ‘voluntarily’ by 2015. I’m about to email Helena Morrissey’s PA (contact details on the link above) with the following question:

We were interested to read Helena Morrissey’s comments concerning the recent announcement about EU-legislated quotas. We’d like to pose her the following public challenge. If the threat of EU-legislated quotas has been an ‘unwelcome distraction’, how can the threat of UK-legislated quotas not be likewise? Would Helena personally support a suspension of the government’s threat of legislated quotas, and if not, for what reasons? Thank you.

3 thoughts on “Our public challenge of Helena Morrissey

  1. One thing: Actually, the EU Commission INCLUDED plans for dissuasive sanctions to hit companies that refuse to succumb to quota coercion in its proposal. Section (30) reads: “Member States should provide for effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions for breaches of this Directive, which could include, inter alia, administrative fines and nullity or annulment declared by a judicial body of the appointment or of the election of non-executive directors made contrary to the national provisions adopted …”

    Being of German origin I cannot help but wonder that the last time, governments were given a carte blanche for interfering in business affairs and declaring assignment and recruitment of employees void was in 1935 when the “Rassengesetze” had been introduced, which gave authorities the power to remove Jews from all positions within amongst others the economy.

  2. Pingback: The 30% club celebrates its second anniversary. Hurrah. « Campaign for Merit in Business

  3. Pingback: The 30% club celebrates its second anniversary. Hurrah. « Fighting Feminism

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