A few weeks ago I sent a written submission to the DBIS inquiry into corporate governance, in relation to gender diversity on corporate boards. Followers of this blog and that of the associated Campaign for Merit in Business will need no reminding of the evidence of a causal link between increasing female representation on boards, and corporate financial decline.
That evidence has never been refuted by anyone to whom we’ve presented it, whether in government, business, academia, journalism, or elsewhere. Equally, nobody has ever provided us with evidence of a causal link between increasing female representation on boards, and corporate financial improvement (the alleged ‘business case’ for this ideologically-driven initiative).
Not having been invited by the DBIS inquiry to give oral evidence, during which I would have shown the government’s policy (since 2011) to be damaging to companies – bullying them into appointing more women onto their boards, with the threat of legislated gender quotas if they don’t do so ‘voluntarily’ – as I did at a previous DBIS inquiry, in November 2012, video here (56:50).
I wrote to Richard Fuller, who sits on the committee, asking to be given the opportunity. He didn’t respond. I wasn’t surprised. When I last met him, I explained that evidence (from longitudinal studies) showed a causal link between increasing female representation on corporate boards, and corporate financial decline. He stated (whilst glancing nervously at a young female apparatchik, who was taking notes) that the assertion was ‘impossible’. It took some time to persuade him to accept the hard copies of the evidence, which I’d brought with me. I assume he threw it in the bin after my departure.
My thanks to the indefatigable Jeff for emailing me the following today:
HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter: a pledge for gender balance across financial services
Women in Finance Charter list of signatories (100+ signatories)
Quotes from Women in Finance Charter signatories (59 signatories)
A typical statement from one of the 59 organisations:
Lynne Atkin, HR Director, Barclays UK and Barclaycard, said:
Barclays is proud to support the launch of the Women in Finance Charter, and will continue to play a leading role in supporting greater progress for senior women in our industry.
Every part of our business is contributing to this agenda, we’ve supported the Davies commission and set out own targets for senior female representation at Managing Director. (sic)
A turgid report by three women:
HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter – Leading the Way
The start of the report’s Introduction:
What this report is about
Gender balance in UK financial services has leapt up the agenda since the government asked Jayne-Anne Gadha, Chief Executive of Virgin Money, to lead a review of women in senior management, and launched the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter in March 2016.
On the front page the Charter is described as being run ‘in collaboration with HM Treasury’ and is ‘supported by Virgin Money’.
I no longer feel inclined to devote any more time and energy to this battle, in which I’ve been engaged for almost five years, when there are so many other more worthwhile battles to be fought. Senior business people (mostly men) have over recent years proved themselves mind-numbingly stupid in accepting the arguments for increasing the proportion of women in their companies’ senior levels, and I see no evidence of that stupidity lessening. Indeed, their public pronouncements become ever more absurd with each passing year.
At some point these blithering idiots will be faced with the stark truth that they’ve made a big mistake, but it will be difficult and costly to return to the principle of promoting people solely on merit. They’ll need to sack or demote the women who were promoted on ideological grounds, and give their jobs to the men who were better qualified.
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