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Why you should sell any FTSE350 shares you own – NOW

[Note added 5 March 2014: this piece has just been published by ‘A Voice for Men’, where  we expect it to attract a large number of comments: ]

Do you own shares in any FTSE350 companies? If so, we recommend you sell them as soon as possible, and the objective of this piece is to explain why. The key reason is that the government is intent on bullying FTSE350 companies into having gender parity on their boards, regardless of the overwhelming evidence provided to the government on numerous occasions (including in the course of House of Commons and House of Lords inquiries) by Campaign for Merit in Business (‘C4MB’) which shows conclusively that increasing the proportion of women on corporate boards leads to financial decline. It’s more an inexperience effect than a gender effect. The short C4MB briefing paper on the matter:

Shortly after David Cameron became Prime Minister in May 2010, leading a Conservative-led coalition, he appointed a Labour peer, Lord Davies of Abersoch, to report on how (not whether) to increase the proportion of women on major corporate boards. There was a great deal of talk at that time of the notion that companies could improve their financial performance by appointing more women onto their boards – the much-vaunted ‘business case’ for doing so. The notion was, of course, always a fantasy. To sustain the fantasy, correlations (between female representation on boards, and enhanced financial performance) were misrepresented as causation, something which continues to this day.

The Davies Report was published in February 2011. It’s so ideologically-driven, we doubt the Fawcett Society would disagree with a sentence in it. The report is here:

140304 Davies Report, published February 2011

We recommend you look at page 3 of the report, the first page of the Executive Summary. There you’ll find this:

Evidence suggests that companies with a strong female representation at board and top management level perform better than those without (1) and that gender-diverse boards have a positive impact on performance.(2)

In the report, sources of material cited in references are identified at the base of the pages. Reference (1) takes you to a 2007 McKinsey report, ‘Women Matter’, which explicitly says that observed correlations between female representation on boards and enhanced financial performance aren’t evidence of causation and can’t be taken to even imply causation. Reference (2) is more interesting – because, as you’ll observe at the base of the page, no source of material is cited. We’ve put in numerous FOI requests to the DBIS, including one very recently, so we know that to this day they have no evidence for the causal link they’re clearly implying. In plain English, there’s no ’business case’ for increasing the proportion of women on boards.   

One of the key recommendations of the Davies Report (published in February 2011) was that if FTSE100 companies hadn’t ‘voluntarily’ (we’ll return to this weasel word shortly) achieved 25% female representation on their boards by 2015, the government should consider introducing legislated gender quotas. One of the key contributors to the Davies Report was Professor Susan Vinnicombe, leader of the Cranfield International Centre for Women leaders, who admitted to a House of Lords inquiry that she had no evidence of a causal link between increasing the proportion of women on corporate boards, and enhanced financial performance. Two months ago we publicly challenged her with the following, and have yet to receive a response:

We challenge you to stop misleading people into believing correlations between increased female representation on boards and enhanced financial performance are, or may be, indicative of a beneficial gender effect, thereby justifying in some people’s minds (not ours) the government’s policy direction of pressuring companies to increase the number of women on their boards, through the threat of legislated gender quotas.

We challenge you to critique and discredit the five longitudinal studies which show that increasing female representation on corporate boards leads on average to corporate financial decline.

A link to our blog piece with the background to the challenge of Susan Vinnicombe:

We turn to Charlotte Sweeney, a woman described in the Foreword of a new DBIS report (to which we’ll be referring shortly) as follows:

…a senior HR executive with over 20 years’ experience in equality, diversity and corporate culture shift within the Banking sector.

Ms Sweeney has been riding the EDI (Equality, Diversity & Inclusivity) gravy train for over 20 years. Wow. She’s covered some mileage, and was the woman appointed by our odious Anti-Business Secretary, Vince Cable MP, to report on how the ‘voluntary’ (that weasel word again!) code for executive search firms is progressing. The purpose of the code – established in response to a Davies Report recommendation – is to put pressure on executive search firms to drive up the proportion of women on the ‘long lists’ and ‘short lists’ they present to major corporate clients considering the recruitment of new executive and non-executive directors.

Six months ago, we publicly challenged Ms Sweeney with the following:

Charlotte, good afternoon. We have five longitudinal studies showing that when more women are appointed to major corporate boards, financial performance declines:

If you refute these studies, could you please outline why? And if you know of any reports or studies showing a causal link between increased female representation on boards and improved financial performance, could you please email me at with directions to them? Please don’t send me reports (e.g. McKinsey, Credit Suisse, Reuters…) which make it perfectly clear they’re reporting correlation, not causation, and that correlation neither proves nor even implies causation. Thank you.

A link to our blog piece with the background to the challenge of Charlotte Sweeney, to which (of course) we never received a substantive response:

Ms Sweeney’s report for the DBIS was published this afternoon. It has the snappy title, ‘Women on Boards: Voluntary Code for Executive Search Firms – Taking the Next Step’ and it’s downloadable through this link:

140304 Charlotte Sweeney’s Eomen on Boards report

The report’s content from beginning to end is mind-numbing and predictably packed with the Orwellian doublespeak employed by people engaged in social engineering exercises. To spare you the pain of reading the whole report, we’ve done so on your behalf. One thing we’re pleased to say is that C4MB has clearly impacted on the claims made in such reports. The only mention we could find of the fantasy that more women on boards leads to enhanced financial performance was this gem, at the start of the Introduction:

Gender parity on corporate boards continues to be a hugely debated issue both within the UK and the European Commission. The business case for gender parity on boards has been widely articulated and is clear.(3)

Reference (3) takes you to – honestly, we’re not making this up – The Davies Report!

What’s worth drawing from Ms Sweeney’s report? Well, it’s made clear the ‘more women on boards’ social engineering initiative will extend to the FTSE350 in time, and beyond 2015 – neither of which comes as the slightest surprise. But this is the first time the government’s objective of ‘parity’ on corporate boards – 50% women, 50% men – has been revealed in an official publication, to the best of our knowledge. Again, to be frank, we’re not surprised. It was long ago admitted to a parliamentary inquiry that the 25% goal for women on FTSE100 boards was ‘only a major milestone on a longer journey’.

Extracts from the report’s ‘Foreword’, signed by Vince Cable MP and Lord Davies:

We are entering the home straight. The actions taken by UK listed companies in 2014 will determine whether we succeed in achieving the target set by Lord Davies and his Steering Group to reach 25% of women on FTSE 100 boards by 2015. Women currently occupy 1 in 5 of all FTSE 100 board positions. The target is encouragingly close and equates to a net increase of around 50 more women on FTSE 100 boards. This is clearly achievable, so long as we take action now…

We would particularly like to thank the executive search firms that are already pushing hard on this agenda, who have played a crucial and significant role so far in improving the number of women on British boards. However, there is still more to do and we need to see consistent and concerted action from all 70 executive search firms signed up to the Code to ensure a successful outcome in 2015 and beyond.

The Executive Summary starts with:

The business case for increasing the number of women on corporate boards has been widely articulated and is clear. Since the launch of Lord Davies’s original report there has been a step change in the perception and commitment of gaining more diversity on FTSE 350 boards.

In January 2014 women accounted for 20.4% of corporate board members of FTSE 100 companies. This continued the positive trend and was up from 19% in 2013, 12.4% in 2010 and 9.4% in 2004. Although the pace of change has increased, and current trends suggest the target of 25% by 2015 set out by Lord Davies in his 2011 report will be achieved, we cannot be complacent and assume further progress will be made without further considered focus.

So there you have it. A Conservative-led coalition, with a male feminist Prime Minister and a socialist Business Secretary, is intent on destroying major British corporations on the altar of gender equality. Hopefully Cable and his socialist chums will have discovered a wealth-generating alternative to capitalism when the inevitable crash comes.

If we were investing our money, it wouldn’t be in the shares of FTSE350 companies. There’s only one way those shares can go in the medium to longer term, given the social engineering exercises assaulting these companies’ boardrooms, and that’s down. For those of you intent on holding FTSE350 shares, we can only hope the knowledge that half the directors of those failing companies are women will bring you some cold comfort. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you in good time.

Our public challenge of Laura Carstensen, EHRC Commissioner

It won’t surprise you that of the 10 Commissioners at the Equality & Human Rights Commission, eight are women. Gender equality is a fine thing:

The EHRC is going to look at the ‘under-representation’ of women on corporate boards later this year:

Commissioner Laura Carstensen is credited as the author of the following gem:

Research shows that diverse boards produce better performance and many companies recognise this. However, there is still much more to be done to improve the representation of women at board level. The aim of this project is to help companies do more to open up the field of board appointments which will help them achieve better results for their company by widening the talent pool. We look forward to working with BIS to shape the project to ensure it’s effective in tackling this issue.

We’re about to email a link to this piece to the EHRC, with the following public challenge to Ms Carstensen:

Your comments (above) clearly imply there’s a causal link between increasing the proportion of women on company boards, and enhanced financial performance. In the course of the past two years Campaign for Merit in Business has challenged dozens of organisations (including DBIS) and hundreds of individual proponents of ‘more women on boards’ to provide evidence for such a causal link, and no evidence has ever been forthcoming. This is a FOI request asking you to provide evidence of the causal link you’ve implied. Please don’t waste our time pointing us to reports and studies (e.g. McKinsey, Credit Suisse, Catalyst, Thomson Reuters) which show correlations but then make it clear those correlations aren’t evidence of causation and nor do they imply it. Thank you. You might like to read our briefing paper which has the Abstracts of five longitudinal studies showing that increasing female representation on boards leads to financial performance decline:

Our public challenge of Vince Cable, Business Secretary

Our attention was drawn this morning to a report on the BBC’s website about an idiotic move by Lloyd’s Bank (link below). If you own any of the bank’s shares, now is the time to sell them. The share price has fallen by 3% already today.

But we were particularly drawn to some truly nonsensical assertions at the end of the piece from Vince Cable, Business Secretary. This has prompted our new public challenge, in the form of a FoI request, seeking the ‘clear’ evidence to support his assertions:

140203 FoI request for Vince Cable

We shall, of course, be publishing the response. DBIS – along with other government departments – has never been able in the past to supply any evidence of a causal link between driving up the proportion of women in senior roles, and enhanced financial performance, and we confidently expect them not to supply any evidence now.

More American and British men and women prefer male bosses to female bosses

We know that when the proportion of women on corporate boards is increased financial performance can be expected to decline, but are there other outcomes which might partly compensate for this assault on meritocracy? For example, will the working environment become more pleasant and supportive for men, or women? Proponents of more women in the senior reaches of business often claim that women are more ‘consensual’ or ‘collaborative’ than men, or as I prefer to think of it, hopelessly indecisive.

What might one of these consensual geniuses do when a topic arises unexpectedly at a board meeting? Perhaps take a ‘comfort break’ during which she’ll attempt to forge a ‘consensus’ among whoever is around to ‘collaborate’ with at the time? So long as boards are happy with female directors taking two-hour-long comfort breaks, I see no problem. Of course board meetings could then last all week, but that’s surely a small price to pay to keep up the charade of often poorly qualified female directors appearing competent.

Our thanks to M for sending us links to two intriguing documents on employees’ preferences with respect to the genders of their bosses. The first is from the Gallup organisation in the United States, a report titled, ‘Americans Still Prefer a Male Boss’, which draws on a survey conducted in August 2013. Gallup has been asking questions in this area since 1953, 60 years ago. The report:

Intriguingly, a higher proportion of women (40%) than men (29%) prefer a male boss. Key findings from the study:


29% prefer a male boss

18% prefer a female boss

51% have no preference


40% prefer a male boss

27% prefer a female boss

32% have no preference

Young Americans showed the same preference for male bosses as older Americans. Also from the report:


Although four in 10 Americans do not have a preference for a male or a female boss, those who do would rather work for a man than a woman – as they have since Gallup began asking this question in 1953.

The minority of working Americans who have a female boss break even in their preferences for the gender of their boss, suggesting that if the percentage of Americans who work for a woman increases, so might the percentage who would rather work for a woman. However, young Americans’ preferences are in line with the average, which suggests that the aging of today’s workforce may not in and of itself produce changes in these attitudes in the years ahead.

The fact that even in 2013 women are more likely to prefer a male boss over a female boss will come as no surprise to anyone who’s read Steve Moxon’s The Woman Racket (2008). One of Moxon’s key theses is that men are innately comfortable with rules-based competition – one of the reasons why so many more men than women engage in competitive sports, or watch them – and with a male dominance hierarchy based upon power, or its modern proxy, money. The female dominance hierarchy, by contrast, is based upon youth and attractiveness, so women tend to be less comfortable than men with the male dominance hierarchy which remains the basis of the vast majority of commercially successful organisations.

Many times over the course of my 30+ year-long business career women complained to me about their treatment at the hands of female bosses who generally had a small ‘in group’ they favoured in numerous ways. The situation was made worse by women being promoted beyond their abilities, in an effort to get more women into the senior reaches of organisations. In my experience men were rarely promoted beyond their abilities in this way, but if they were, they soon realised they had a problem, admitted it, and a solution found. Women in the same situation would struggle on in an effort to save face, they could become unpleasant to deal with, and end up with depression, stress-related absences from work, substance abuse issues…

Crossing the pond, we turn to a short but interesting article in the Daily Telegraph, published in 2010, ‘Workers Prefer Male Bosses’:

From the article:

Two thirds of employees agree they would rather work for a man than a woman. Female bosses were accused of being moody and incapable of leaving their personal lives at home. A third of those polled claimed women in charge are ‘loose cannons’ – ready to stab colleagues in the back at any time, and who constantly feel threatened by other people in positions of authority. By contrast, both male and female workers believe male bosses were less likely to get involved in office politics, were easier to reason with and rarely suffered from mood swings.

Men are also said to be more straight-talking than women and rarely talk about others behind their backs, it emerged.

The article ends with the following:                       

Ten reasons why men are considered the best bosses

1. Straight talking

2. Less likely to get involved in office politics

3. Easier to reason with

4. Less likely to bitch about others

5. Less likely to suffer from mood swings

6. Able to leave their private life at home

7. No time of the month

8. More likely to share common interests

9. Don’t feel threatened if others are good at their jobs

10. More reasonable

Who could argue with any of the 10 reasons? So there we have it. When organisations drive up the proportion of bosses who are women, not only can they expect to see financial performance decline, but also a less happy workforce. It’s a lose/lose situation, engineered to keep a small number of privileged women in positions of power for which they’re poorly qualified. So why do the government, the business sector, employers’ organisations and professional bodies all relentlessly pursue this insane direction of travel? Things may have to get a lot worse before people in positions of influence come to their collective senses.

Our public challenges of Professor Susan Vinnicombe

I read a full-page article in yesterday’s Daily Mail with mounting disbelief. It was written by a young journalist, Ruth Sunderland, and it’s about the financial returns in 2013 of FTSE350 companies with female chief executives:

The article is the usual mix of celebrating women who are successes, whilst downplaying women who are failures. Of the four FTSE100 female CEOs, only one can be reasonably said to have delivered a strong performance in 2013 – Carolyn McCall of EasyJet. Let’s consider the three others:

Imperial Tobacco – shares down 8%.

Burberry – shares up 13%, very much in line with the FTSE100 average.

Royal Mail – shares up 78% but to quote Ms Sunderland, ‘The huge hike in the Royal Mail price owes far more to the fact that shares were woefully underpriced than to the acumen of Moya Greene.’

So, just one of the four female FTSE100 CEOs performed more strongly than the average male FTSE100 CEO in 2013. The article’s downplaying of female failure is breathtaking:

Cynthia Carroll left the top position at mining giant Anglo American earlier this year after disappointing investors and has been replaced by a man.

‘Disappointing investors’? They lost their shirts. In the course of Cynthia Carroll’s five-year tenure at Anglo American £9 BILLION was wiped off the company’s value. The following is a link to our piece on the matter, along with further information on the performances of other female CEOs:

Which brings us to Susan Vinnicombe of the Cranfield International Centre for Women Leaders. She’s long been the world’s leading academic advocate for more women on boards. In July 2012 she admitted to a House of Lords inquiry that she had no evidence of a causal link between increasing female representation on boards, and enhanced financial performance:

Her exact words:

 Thirdly, there has been quite a push in the past – indeed, we ourselves have engaged in such research – to look at the relationship between having women on corporate boards and financial performance. We do not subscribe to this research. We have shared it with chairmen and they do not think that it makes sense. We agree that it does not make sense. You cannot correlate two or three women on a massive corporate board with a return on investment, return on equity, turnover or profits. We have dropped such research in the past five years and I am pleased to say that Catalyst, which claims to have done a ground-breaking study on this in the US, officially dropped this line of argument last September.

From the Daily Mail article:

Much as the feminist lobby might wish to claim a victory for woman-power, however, it is impossible to prove that female directors are likely to deliver better returns than men.

It is impossible to prove that, for one simple reason. The nearest we have to proof of the impact of increasing the proportion of female directors is five longitudinal studies, all of which show corporate financial decline resulting. Our short briefing paper with the studies’ full Abstracts:

Back to the article:

Professor Susan Vinnicombe of the Cranfield University School of Management, which compiles the annual Female FTSE Board Report, says: ‘It is very difficult to say that superior performance is due to a boss being a woman. But there is mounting research that suggests having women on the board is associated with stronger financial performance. This is not quite the same as saying women are the cause of the performance, but there is a strong correlation.’

We get so tired of this sort of tortured language:

‘… suggests having women on the board is associated with stronger financial performance’

‘This is not quite the same as saying women…’

IT’S NOT REMOTELY THE SAME. Most readers of the article will reasonably assume correlation is an indicator of causation, but all the reports and studies we’ve seen presenting correlations (McKinsey, Credit Suisse, Reuters Thomson, Catalyst…) say that not only is correlation not an indicator of causation, it shouldn’t be taken to even infer it.

It’s long overdue for us to publicly challenge Susan Vinnicombe. We’re making two challenges:

We challenge you to stop misleading people into believing correlations between increased female representation on boards and enhanced financial performance are, or may be, indicative of a beneficial gender effect, thereby justifying in some people’s minds (not ours) the government’s policy direction of pressuring companies to increase the number of women on their boards, through the threat of legislated gender quotas.

We challenge you to critique and discredit the five longitudinal studies which show that increasing female representation on corporate boards leads on average to corporate financial decline.

So why are there (on average) positive correlations between increasing female representation on boards, and enhanced financial performance? In our view it’s because strongly performing companies can better afford to indulge in some social engineering, and in some sectors where women make up the majority of customers (e.g. the retail sector) it’s also good PR. A gender analogy from outside the workplace – when rich men marry beautiful women, we don’t say the women caused the men to become rich, do we?

Independent: ‘More than half of women are discriminated against at work’

Our thanks to Greg for pointing us to this gem in the Independent:

Greg asks:

What are they whining about? I thought that last year 98.7% of women were discriminated against in the workplace, and 45.2% of them experienced sexual harassment twice daily, after they’d made tea for their male colleagues? Things are clearly picking up for women in the workplace… it’s almost as if they LIKE whining!

The article, by Emily Dugan, might just get our vote for the most stupid newspaper article published this year relating to women in the workplace (and there’s lots of competition). Female journalists have a near-monopoly on reporting on this topic, and most of their articles are so absurd and divorced from reality they’re almost beyond parody. Almost. Let’s analyse the whole piece, which starts:

Almost a fifth of the women surveyed so far say that their careers have stalled because managers failed to promote them or offer training opportunities.

Let’s put that another way, shall we?

Over four fifths of the women surveyed so far say that their careers haven’t stalled because managers failed to promote them or offer training opportunities.

Hmm, that’s not quite so bad, is it? But of course it leaves aside the issue of women who haven’t been promoted because either:

There aren’t positions to be promoted to; or

They’re not well-qualified for promotion (never a problem for Entitlement Princesses)

The article continues:

The scale of workplace inequality still faced by millions of women has been laid bare by a survey that suggests more than half of female employees have experienced some form of discrimination at work.

The finding comes from the interim results of the most substantial survey ever conducted into the experiences of Britain’s female workforce. Project 28-40, undertaken by Opportunity Now, has already been completed by more than 25,000 women and aims to get to 100,000 before publishing its final results.

Hmm, I wonder what kind of woman would spend her valuable time completing such surveys? That’s right. The whiny kind. We hadn’t heard of ‘Opportunity Now’ before – it’s so difficult to keep up with the multitude of women’s whiny initiatives, and who in their right mind would try to? – but the strapline under the organisation’s logo is ‘Men – Women – Workplace’ which is obviously ironic given what their website says the organisation aims to do:

Opportunity Now is the campaign on gender diversity from Business in the Community. Opportunity Now aims to increase women’s success at work, because it’s not only good for business but good for society too.

Both ‘good for business’ and ‘good for society’ are plain wrong but I don’t need to explain why to regular visitors to this blog. Let’s look at the Leadership team, which has the sort of balance we’ve come to expect when women run things:

With a deep visceral groan, I note the chair of the Advisory Board is Helena Morrissey, CEO of Newton Investment Management. I do wish she’d spend more time at home with her nine children instead of working 24/7/365 in her bid to destroy the British business sector. She runs The 30% Club which aims to get major companies to increase female representation on their boards, regardless of the evidence showing financial decline will result. A third of FFTSE100 chairmen are members of the club. Why, those damnable patriarchs, keeping women down! The deputy chair of the Advisory Board is also a woman. Of the 16-strong Leadership team, 12 are women, including the Group HR Director of the Guardian Media Group, who looks more cheerful than you might expect of someone working for the Guardian. Back to the article:

Almost a fifth of the women surveyed so far say that their careers have stalled because managers failed to promote them or offer training opportunities. Just over one in 10 experienced sexual harassment. The insight follows the news that the gender pay gap is widening for the first time in five years, according to data from the Office for National Statistics released earlier this month.

There’s no evidence that any gender pay gap widening has anything to with firms paying women less than men for the same work (which I take to be the inference from this paragraph). Year after year it’s explained that the gap is fully accountable by differences in the professions men and women go into, levels of seniority, sizes of organisation, industry sectors, blah, blah, blah. I’m too tired to comment further on that matter. So, did the Independent go to a respected organisation to comment on the interim findings of the Opportunity Now report? No, they went to the Fawcett Society. Hmm, I wonder what those upbeat gals had to say?

Daisy Sands, policy and campaigns manager at the Fawcett Society, said: “Today’s findings present a stark reminder of the raft of deep inequalities that women continue to face in the UK labour market, well into the 21st century. Women continue to dominate in low-paid and undervalued work – two-thirds of those in minimum-wage jobs are women. Conversely, women are sorely lacking at the top tables of power – only 25 per cent of senior managers in the UK are women.”

Back to the article:

Some 81 per cent of women believe having children will affect their career progression…

No shit, Sherlock… sorry, Emily. Would men who took the same time out of the workplace have the same problem? Of course. Moving on:

… and more than two-thirds say society expects women to put their family before their job.

Hmm, no mention of Dr Catherine Hakim’s Preference Theory (2000). Her research showed that while four in seven British men are ‘work-centred’, just one in seven British women is. Let’s move on:

Susan Himmelweit, an economist for the Women’s Budget Group, which analyses how women fare in the workplace, said: “Whenever there are pressures on people, as there are now – such as high unemployment – employers are in a better position to put more pressure on staff. Women with caring responsibilities have more difficulty with this [pressure]. Very often they’ve juggled things just to work and it’s more difficult for them to respond to changes. If it is a competitive environment then employers will think it’s not worth bothering with them.”

Professor Himmelweit said she believed the key to improving the gender gap lies in better rights for those who work part-time or flexibly. “What we really need is flexible working that the worker doesn’t have to pay for in some form,” she said. “The legislation on flexible working needs to become tougher so that those who have to use it are not discriminated against.”

Cool. In the interests of gender equality, should men who want to work flexibly not be discriminated against, too? Back to the article.

The Project 28-40 study found that 48 per cent of women had witnessed bullying or unfair treatment of a female colleague, but just 28 per cent said they had seen male colleagues suffer such abuse.

I’m losing the will to live now. We move onto some comments from a notorious gender feminist:

The TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The battle for equality in the workplace is far from over. The gender pay gap got worse this year for the first time in many years, and spending cuts have hit women hard as many work in the public sector.”

Whoa, hold the horses. Two-thirds of public sector workers are women. Should the spending cuts have hit women less hard than men, so the proportion of women in the sector would increase? We can’t see any flaws in that argument. The genius continues:

“What really sets back women at work is becoming a mother. Career breaks, a period working part-time or simply the need to work sensible hours hold women back and limit job opportunities and promotion.”

‘What really sets back women at work is becoming a mother.’ Well, don’t become a mother, then.


Why high-flying women are ditching therapists… for psychics

J has pointed us to another story for the ‘You couldn’t make this s*** up!’ file. We’re constantly being told we ‘need’ more women at the top of business. Exactly why we ‘need’ them there, when longitudinal studies show that increasing the representation of women on corporate boards leads to financial decline, is a mystery. But at least high-flying women are as rational as high-flying men, right? Oops.

From the article:

The recommended psychic, Susan Kennard, was not cheap — sessions cost £100 an hour.

‘But I’d been feeling so awful, I didn’t see how it could make it any worse,’ says Catherine.

‘My friend is incredibly down to earth — she works with computers and you wouldn’t expect her to be into this type of thing. But she kept saying how fantastic Susan was.’

The experience was transformative.

‘It was quite incredible,’ says Catherine, who lives with her husband Bernard, 51, and is a partner in their architect firm. ‘It was as if she knew me, without me even having to open my mouth.’

Susan is a qualified psychotherapist who uses her psychic gift to enhance her understanding of her clients, their pasts and the things that are troubling them.

‘Within two sessions, the negative feelings had disappeared,’ says Catherine. ‘I can only describe it as a feeling of lightness. The issues don’t go away, of course, but I felt empowered to handle them.’

You might think professional psychics have had their day — but they’re back, and they’ve had something of a makeover. Rebranded as ‘intuitive therapists’, they are increasingly sought-after by high-flyers for advice on everything from fertility problems to choice of partners and even business decisions.

Let’s pause to relish that last sentence. High-flying women are using the services of psychics to help them make business decisions. What could possibly go wrong?

From later in the article:

Susan says her psychic ability allows her to tune in to her clients’ feelings; she also has visions of their futures, although she’s cautious about sharing them.

‘I think telling people their future takes their power to act away, but I might gently steer someone according to what I see, saying for example: “I feel it might be helpful for you to think about this”.’

Hmm… ‘visions of the future’. I wonder if Susan can tell me which horse is going to win the 2:30 at Doncaster? That would be worth £100…

Taxpayer to give extra £15,000 per year to engineering graduates… but only if they’re female

Yet more lunacy, part of a scheme costing the taxpayer £25 million:

From the article:

“Only around a quarter of students on engineering master’s courses are women,” said Brunel engineering lecturer, Petra Gratton. “Bluntly speaking, that has to change if UK engineering is going to continue to compete as successfully as it currently does… While some may see this as positive discrimination the stark reality is that UK plc can no longer afford not to exploit fully this enormous potential talent pool.”

Some may see this as positive discrimination? Who wouldn’t? Four out of seven unemployed people in the UK are men, unemployment is a major driver of suicide among men (more so than among women), three times more men than women in the UK commit suicide every year… and here we have one of the few remaining male-dominated professions discriminating against men. It’s time to join up the dots. In this and many other ways, the state is leading men to kill themselves in large numbers, although men collectively pay 72% of the income tax which largely finances the state.

It’s not just the state that’s relentlessly pursuing this direction of travel. Professional bodies in engineering and other male-dominated professions are discriminating again men, although men surely represent the majority of their existing membership. Our public challenge of Nick Baveystock, the director general of the Institution of Civil Engineers, remains unanswered to this day:

Qantas increases the number of women on its board and in its senior executive levels. Hurrah! S&P reduces Qantas’s credit rating to ‘junk’. Oops.

We now know a good deal about the impact of increasing female representation on corporate boards. Longitudinal studies (the only ones of any relevance, as they separate causation from correlation) of companies in the United States, Germany and Norway show it leads to corporate financial decline. Our briefing paper on the matter has the Abstracts and URLs of five such studies:

Across the developed world major corporations are increasing female representation on their boards and senior executive levels, sometimes under government pressure, sometimes not. For anyone with an interest in this subject we suggest spending some time on the website of our associated initiative, Campaign for Merit in Business

We’re indebted to M, a supporter who lives in Eastern Europe, for pointing us to some intriguing pieces. He’s just come up with a new one, a real gem, relating to Qantas. From Wikipedia’s entry on the company:

Qantas Airways Limited is the flag carrier of Australia. The name was originally ‘QANTAS’, an acronym for ‘Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services’. Nicknamed ‘The Flying Kangaroo’, Qantas is Australia’s largest airline, the oldest continuously operated airline in the world, and the second oldest in the world overall… Qantas carries a 65% share of the Australian domestic market and carries 18.7% of all passengers travelling in and out of Australia.

Qantas has been going through turbulent times (pun intended). With fairly stable revenues and passenger numbers, it moved from an A$249 million profit after tax in 2010/11, to losses of A$244 million in 2011/12, and a derisory profit of just A$6 million in 2012/13. Also from Wikipedia:

In August 2011 the company announced that, due to financial losses and a decline in market share, major structural changes would be made. Up to 1,000 jobs would be lost in Australia…

The last thing Qantas would need in such difficult times would be time-consuming and distracting initiatives to drive up female representation on its board and senior executive levels. Under government pressure, however, that’s exactly what it’s faced for years, since at least 1999. Our thanks to M for pointing us to a 24-page document which will be depressing reading for any normal intelligent person – gender feminists, by contrast, will love it – Qantas’s 2011/12 report to the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA):

131207 Qantas 201112 report

To protect your sanity we’ve extracted from the document just a little of the content, from p.3:


The Qantas Group is covered by the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999 (Commonwealth) and to comply with the Act is required to:

– Develop an equal opportunity for women in the workplace program

– Report annually (by 31 May) to the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) on the program and its effectiveness.

The report is being submitted on behalf of the Qantas Group and covers our workplace program gender diversity activities during the reporting period 1 April 2011 – 31 March 2012.

Diversity Highlights for 2011/2012 


– The Qantas Board of Directors appointed one additional woman, increasing female representation to 25%, up by 8% since the last reporting period.

– Qantas has 57% female representation on the Qantas Foundation Board, as 4 of the 7 Directors are women.

– 2 of the 10 Directors of the Qantas Superannuation Board, including the Chairman are women, representing 20% of the Board.

– During the reporting period, the number of women employed on the Qantas Executive Committee (ExCo), reporting directly to the CEO increased to 3 or 27%. This is a significant increase from having zero representation 3 years ago in 2009.

– Qantas’ Company Secretary is female.

– The number of women in Senior Management roles (levels 2-4 in Table A) increased by 2% to 29% during the reporting period.

<End of extract. We apologise for inflicting that on you.>

So what’s been the consequence of the relentless march of women into senior roles at Qantas, both before and during the period in which the company has faced severe financial difficulties? Well, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) have just cut Qantas’s credit rating to ‘junk’ (link below). Oops.

In an effort to pour salt into Qantas’s wounds, Australia’s government is refusing to bail out the company, despite having assaulted it with gender diversity initiatives since at least 1999. We expect this matter will be resolved by an Asian company – probably a Chinese one – taking over Qantas, and immediately cancelling all such stupid initiatives. We assume that Australian feminists, and the politicians who’ve pandered to them for so long, are proud of having brought a once-great company to its knees.

As time goes on, across the developed world, we’ll see ever more examples of major companies being destroyed by gender diversity initiatives, and the Chinese in particular buying the assets at rock-bottom prices.

The forthcoming decline of the business sector in Germany

Our thanks to a supporter in Eastern Europe for alerting us to this. During negotiations to form a coalition government German politicians – mostly female ones, it would seem – have agreed to assault the country’s business sector through introducing gender quotas for corporate boards, in order to advance the careers of women unable to get appointed to those boards on the basis of their merits. How proud these women will be to reach corporate boards on the basis of owning the ‘correct’ genitals.


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