Baroness Margaret Ford: Lack of women on top boards ‘pathetic’

Another day, another whiny woman seeking to shame men into appointing women to boards when there are many better qualified men for the positions. Women cannot compete with men at the top level with a level playing field, with vanishingly rare exceptions, regardless of whether merit is objectively or subjectively determined. It was a theme running through my ICMI20 presentation Why Women Fail to Compete Successfully With Men, and Will Always Fail (43:11).

Baroness Margaret Ford’s whineathon in yesterday’s Times:

The departing head of STV’s board has called on corporate Scotland to improve its “lamentably poor” representation of women in senior positions.

Baroness Margaret Ford said that it was “pathetic” that businesses were failing to achieve better gender representation among their directors.

She said that the situation was generally better in the public sector and politics [C4MB: Hmm, why might that be? It’s a mystery, all right!] but believed business needed to “give ourselves a shake”.

She said: “My frustration is that 40 years after I started my career I think the corporate position in Scotland is still lamentably poor.

“I think we really need to give ourselves a shake. It is not good enough.”

Ford, 63, is the only Scottish woman who is the chairman of a stock market listed company with headquarters in the country. However, she is stepping down from STV in a few weeks. There are no female chief executives among Scotland’s quoted companies other than Alison Rose at NatWest. [C4MB: Ah yes. A woman in charge of a basket case bank.]

There are a number of women in finance director positions including Katie Murray at NatWest, Stephanie Bruce at Standard Life Aberdeen and Lindsay Dixon at STV.

Debbie Crosbie, the TSB chief executive, and Anne Richards, who leads the fund manager Fidelity International, are among the select few Scottish women in the top jobs at big UK businesses while Audrey Baxter has successfully grown her family’s food business, Baxters, around the world.

The membership groups the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Institute of Directors Scotland, Scottish Council for Development and Industry and CBI Scotland have women as their chief executive or main representative.

Ford was the chairman at Grainger, a property landlord, who in 2015 oversaw the hiring of a female chief executive and finance director [J4MB: Hmm, anti-male discrimination there, possibly?] to make the company the first in the FTSE to have women in its three top positions.

She believes there is no reason firms cannot have more diverse boards and senior leadership teams. She added: “Frankly, sometimes it is laziness and sometimes it is not being aware . . . We need to work much, much harder in corporate Scotland. [C4MB translation: We need to appoint poorly qualified women in preference to well-qualified men.] I’ve been the only women chair of a listed company in Scotland for donkeys years now and when I go that will be it.

“That is pathetic. There is no other way to describe it.” [C4MB: Baroness Margaret Ford is pathetic. There is no other way to describe her.]

You can subscribe to The Times here.

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