[Update 1.10.13: this blog post has just been emailed to Debbie White’s PA.]
Ms White, good afternoon. I lead the political party Justice for men & boys (and the women who love them) http://j4mb.org.uk and Campaign for Merit in Business https://c4mb.wordpress.com which campaigns against quotas (and the threat of quotas, as we currently have in the UK) to increase female representation on corporate boards. The reasons for the latter campaign is simple. There’s no evidence of a causal link between increasing female representation on boards and improved corporate financial performance, but plenty of evidence of a causal link with a decline in performance. Our briefing paper on the matter:
We’ve challenged the government, CBI, dozens of organisations (and hundreds of individuals) to provide evidence of a casual link between increased female representation on boards and enhanced financial performance, and they’ve collectively come up with NOTHING. Even Vince Cable has stopped making claims of a link, in public at least.
Proponents of ‘more women on boards’ tend to offer studies and reports (Catalyst, McKinsey, Credit Suisse, Reuters Thomson…) which show correlations, but on closer inspection all these studies and reports (to the best of our knowledge) make it clear that correlation isn’t proof of causation, nor does it even imply causation. Even Ilene Lang, President/CEO of Catalyst, was unable or unwilling to rise to a public challenge we made in October 2012:
We understand from articles in HR Magazine and Mail Online that you favour the introduction of quotas for women on corporate boards, so we are today making the following public challenge to you:
Campaign for Merit in Business is unaware of any reports or studies showing that companies can expect to improve corporate financial performance as a result of increasing female representation on their boards, and we’ve supplied you with details of five longitudinal studies showing that the result is declines in corporate financial performance. If you challenge these assertions, could you please explain why, and provide evidence of a positive causal link if you have any such evidence? If you don’t challenge the assertions, could you please explain why you support quotas for women on boards, given one consequence will be lower returns for shareholders? Do you believe a declines in financial performance, and lower returns for shareholders, are acceptable prices to pay for increasing female representation on corporate boards?
I look forward to a response to this challenge by 5pm next Monday, 7 October. Thank you.
You may be interested in a piece we posted a little earlier this afternoon: