House of Commons: Business, Innovation and Skills Committee inquiry into ‘corporate governance’

In 2012 – a year before the launch of J4MB – we launched Campaign for Merit in Business (‘C4MB’). C4MB was then, and remains to this day, the only organization in the world campaigning against government initiatives to bully companies into increasing the proportion of women on their boards, primarily for two reasons:

  • the initiatives are deeply anti-meritocratic; and
  • evidence clearly shows a causal link between increasing female representation on boards, and corporate financial decline (link below)

In 2012 I presented written evidence to House of Commons and House of Lords inquiries. Along with the renowned sociologist Dr Catherine Hakim (the originator of Preference Theory, in 2000) and Steve Moxon (author of The Woman Racket, published in 2008) I gave oral evidence to the House of Commons inquiry on 20 November 2012, four years ago to the day – here (video, 56:49).

I presented some of the evidence of a causal link between increasing female representation on boards, and corporate financial decline – five longitudinal studies – to both inquiries. The MPs and peers didn’t dispute the evidence, had no counter-evidence (many witnesses to the inquiry were mis-representing correlation as causation, as they do to this day) but pressed on regardless with the government’s bullying of large companies to ‘improve’ gender diversity on their boards, through the threat of legislated gender quotas.

The government’s bullying of FTSE100 companies to appoint more women to their boards – starting with the publication of the ridiculous Davies Report (2011) – led to FTSE100 companies doubling the proportion of women on their boards between 2011 (12%) and 2015 (25%). 96% of the new female director appointments over the period were as non-executive directors, giving the lie to feminist claims of a ‘glass ceiling’ keeping able women out of boardrooms.

Today the government is driving FTSE350 companies to have gender parity (50/50) on their boards. To their eternal shame the business sector – along with the CBI and Institute of Directors – have been complicit in this feminist-driven social engineering exercise. I cannot recall one FTSE350 director ever publicly criticising the initiatives.

As a result of frustration at the government’s refusal to engage with rational arguments, I launched J4MB in early 2013, and I’ve devoted little time and effort on C4MB since then. The government’s refusal to engage with rational arguments is, of course, apparent in other areas relating to state actions and inactions concerning men (and boys) and women (and girls).

It is with a heavy heart, then, and a deadline of 26 October, just six days away, that I’ve started work on our written submission for the new inquiry, having put it off for some weeks. The scope of the inquiry:

The Business, Innovation, and Skills (BIS) Committee has today launched an inquiry on corporate governance, focussing on executive pay, directors duties, and the composition of boardrooms, including worker representation and gender balance in executive positions. [my emphasis]

The BIS Committee inquiry follows on from the corporate governance failings highlighted by the Committee’s recent inquiries into BHS and Sports Direct, and in the wake of commitments from the Prime Minister to overhaul corporate governance. [my emphasis]

We knew it wouldn’t be long before Theresa ‘this is what a feminist looks like’ May reinvigorated the ‘women on boards’ initiative. The inquiry’s terms of reference include the following ones relevant to ‘composition of boards’:

  • What evidence is there that more diverse company boards perform better? [Answer: none, at least with regards to gender. The only evidence of a causal link is that when more women are appointed to corporate boards, financial performance declines. ]
  • How should greater diversity of board membership be achieved? What should diversity include, e.g. gender, ethnicity, age, sexuality, disability, experience, socio-economic background? [The assumption is that greater diversity should be increased, when to my knowledge no evidence supports the assumption, at least with regards to gender. And it is only the gender issue which will achieve traction, because it’s women who have historically and shamelessly pursued self-advancement onto corporate boards.]
  • What more should be done to increase the number of women in Executive positions on boards? [Again, the assumption that ‘something should be done’, only ‘what’ should be done being up for debate. The obvious answer to the rhetorical question – to increase the number of women in Executive positions on boards, more women will need to work harder in the relevant disciplines e.g. Finance – isn’t even considered as an option.]

Extracts from the same web page:

Chair of the BIS committee, Iain Wright MP, (L, Hartlepool) said:

“…The Prime Minister has spoken of workers representation on boards. We want to examine what this might look like in practice, how would this work, how would workers be selected? It’s all too clear that there is significant under-representation of women in executive levels. We’re interested in hearing about the barriers to women achieving senior positions, the measures being taken to remedy the situation, and what action Government might take to improve the gender balance.

Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:

“The UK has long been a leader in promoting high standards of governance, with our Corporate Governance Code being copied across the world. But the reputation of corporate Britain has not recovered from the financial crisis, and there are important questions that need to be addressed on issues including transparency, executive pay and board diversity. The Prime Minister has made clear that company boards are in her sights, so directors must fully engage in this debate.” [my emphasis]

Inquiry background

Composition of boards

Following the Davies Review, which successfully focussed on increasing the number of non-executive directors, [note: this is a naked mis-representation of what happened. At no time was it ever stated that the objective was to increase the number of female non-executive directors. This is a post-hoc rationalisation of the fact that virtually all the female director appointments were as non-executives, such was the shortage of suitably able women for executive positions] the BIS Committee wants to examine what more should be done to increase the number of women in executive positions… The inquiry also wants to consider how greater diversity of board membership could be achieved.

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Where are all the expat women?

Why are a minority of British executives who take up positions abroad with their companies women? Obvious reasons include:

  • A minority of British executives are women
  • Work orientation. As a class, women are less career-oriented than men (Dr Catherine Hakim’s Preference Theory (2000) – 4 in 7 British men are work-centred, only 1 in 7 British women is)
  • Hypergamy. Women seek to marry men who are substantially better-off than themselves, and this tendency increases as a woman’s personal wealth rises. The women who might be candidates for working abroad will therefore tend to have high-earning partners who would naturally be reluctant (or unable) to relocate abroad. The same would be less frequently true for male executives
  • Family responsibilities. If one person in a couple is to remain in the UK with the children, and the other work abroad, most women would prefer the first role to the second

None of this makes sense to work-centred feminists, of course, so I thank Martin for this piece of absurd feminist propaganda from the BBC. An extract:

“Women are just as likely to accept offers to work abroad, but they are simply less likely to be offered the opportunity to take on these roles” by their firms, says Cynthia Emrich, a vice president at Catalyst, a New York-based global nonprofit that promotes women in the workplace.

Only about 17% of women take international assignments compared to 28% of men, according to a 2012 report from Catalyst that studied high-potential employees from top business schools. Despite having the same willingness to take on a global role as their male counterparts, 64% of women say they were never offered a move abroad, compared with just 55% of men, the report showed.

Even if we take the data at face value, it simply doesn’t support the claim that ‘women are just as likely to accept offers to work abroad, but they are simply less likely to be offered the opportunity to take on these roles’. A majority of executives (64% of women, ‘just’ 55% of men) were never offered a move abroad, yet 17% of women took up the opportunity, compared with 28% of men. Surely this shows that women are less likely than men to accept the offers, as we’d expect to be the case?

Catalyst is a radical feminist campaign organization, whose ‘Bottom Line’ series of reports are used by those seeking to misrepresent correlation as causation with respect to the link between gender balance on corporate boards and financial performance.

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It pays to have more women in work, so policy must reflect this. Er… must it?

In today’s edition of The Times (p.39) there’s a woeful article by Philip Aldrick, Economics Editor, titled, ‘It pays to have more women in work, so policy must reflect this’. His analysis is feminist throughout, though I doubt he realises this. A particular gem:

Women are good for the bottom line. Companies with more women in senior management deliver higher returns on assets. No economist has taken a stab at the reason, but the evidence, most recently from IMF research into two million companies across 34 European countries, is simply that it does. More profits means more cash to invest, which means higher productivity and better prosperity for all.

I honestly cannot be bothered to check out the ‘IMF research’, because I’m 100% sure – after working on this issue for 4+ years – that it would report a correllation between more women in senior management, and higher returns. What it would NOT demonstrate – no research ever does – is a causal link, because it’s been known for years that a causal link exists between more women in senior positions, and corporate financial decline. I outlined the evidence of a causal link to House of Commons and House of Lords inquiries in 2012, and that evidence is here.

If any of this blog’s followers has more energy and time than myself to direct Philip Aldrick to this blog piece, I thank them warmly in advance. His email address might be philip.aldrick@thetimes.co.uk. Then again, it might not be. I could be wrong. It happened once before.

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EasyJet is offering 10 places for women each year on the easyJet pilot training programme and underwriting the £100,000 training loan. This is the ‘first phase’ of their long term strategy to increase the proportion of female pilots at the airline.

Few of our blog pieces about education and workplace-related issues have angered our supporters than one we posted in 2014 – here – about female Brunel University MSc Engineering students being handed a taxpayer-stolen lump sum of £22,750 denied to their male colleagues.

Social engineering in the public sector has long been rife, but it’s becoming increasingly common in the private sector, too, and not just ‘women in the boardroom’. The objective is to deny men advancement, or even stop them starting careers in well-paying professions.

Carolyn McCall is the CEO of the low-cost airline easyJet. She became the CEO of Guardian Media Group in 2006, after rising to be CEO of Guardian Newspapers Ltd.

My thanks to Nigel for sending me this:

Dear Mike,

I’ve forwarded the link below as it gives a list of examples of major firms actions on gender (of course no help to men!) Easy Jet are offering 10 places to women  on their pilot course at effectively their expense [note: more accurately, at their shareholders’ expense] if the pilot candidate (woman) doesn’t go on to be a working pilot. If you look at the other examples you will see similar as well as the usual Family Friendly, Mentoring training into management and other privileges.

I realise that you will be mad busy at the moment but I think this information of the case studies is worth having a good trawl through. I would think it will also interest members working in the various companies/industries.

Nigel

The link will take you to a piece by the absurdly-named Government Equalities Office. The link to the piece on easyJet is here.

As a final comment, male unemployment has long been higher than female unemployment, and unemployment has long been known to be a bigger suicide risk factor for men than women. The cost of these social engineering programmes is paid in many ways, including men’s lives. Suicide continues to be the #1 cause of death for men under 50 in the UK.

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We must do more for women entrepreneurs

A truly pathetic article from a recent Mail on Sunday. An extract:

A report from the Federation of Small Businesses last week argued that while women-led firms face many of the same challenges that all small businesses encounter, ‘there appear to be issues which are more acute for women business owners’.

Its survey of more than 1,900 women business owners found key challenges included balancing work and family life, achieving credibility for the business, and a lack of confidence.

One of the comments hits the nail on the head:

Why must we do more for women entrepreneurs? Who is the ‘we’? If people can’t do it for themselves, men or women, they are not entrepreneurs.

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How to set up a small business. Take a big one and stuff its board with women.

My thanks to The Conservative Woman for publishing my latest article on the topic of gender diversity on corporate boards, inspired by a lengthy and absurd EHRC report, nothing less than a taxpayer-funded feminist propaganda piece.

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Laura Perrins: Female quotas serve only mediocre women

Another good piece from Laura Perrins. Of course mediocre women haven’t the slightest reservation about advancing in preference to better-qualified men. They are utterly shameless, as are the men and women who facilitate all the damnable social engineering which has had such a ruinous impact on the public sector, and will in time have the same impact on the private sector.

The government is threatening to introduce gender quota legislation for FTSE350 companies in 2020 if the companies don’t ‘voluntarily’ achieve 33% female representation on their boards by then. Doubtless they’ll cravenly capitulate in the same way FTSE100 companies did in the wake of the ridiculous Davies Report (2011), which resulted in a doubling of the female representation on their boards in the space of four years to 25% in 2015 (average across the FTSE100). 96% of the new female directors were appointed as Non-Executive Directors – prestige, no executive responsibility, and good money for little effort. No wonder feminists are so keen on such initiatives.

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