Women’s work/life balance – my Voice of Russia interview

Louise Mensch, 41, became a Conservative MP in 2010 after being an ‘A-lister’ and selected from an all-women prospective parliamentary candidate shortlist. A fine example of the social engineering of which David Cameron is so fond. Only six months ago Mensch complained in a magazine interview of not being promoted to a senior position, but a week ago announced she was giving up politics after just two years to live with her rich American husband, and her children from an earlier marriage, in New York. The result of all this is expected to be a by-election defeat for the Conservatives. Nice one, Dave.

Voice of Russia asked me in again for a recorded discussion, this time about women’s choices with respect to work and home life. In the studio with me was Lynne Burnham, Secretary of ‘Mothers at Home Matter’. The link to the discussion:

http://ruvr.co.uk/2012_08_10/84679867/

We need to talk about Vince Cable

It seems I was premature in declaring a small victory had been won in the battle against the ideological goal of ‘improved’ gender balance in the boardroom. I’d inferred from broadsheet newspaper reports that Theresa May, Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, had written to EU Commissioner Viviane Reding opposing EU imposition of quotas for women in the boardroom, that this was the government’s revised domestic position also. I was wrong, it now seems. I’m grateful to Fred for pointing me towards the following article on yesterday’s Mail Online. It concerns the coalition’s ultra-Leftie Business Secretary, and the piece is titled, “Firms face compulsory quotas if they don’t put women in top jobs, insists Vince Cable”:

Businesses could be hit with compulsory quotas to increase the number of women on boards unless they raise the number voluntarily, said Vince Cable. The Business Secretary said he was ready to introduce legal targets if firms had failed to ensure a quarter of executives at board level were female by 2015. He also suggested that if he were prime minister, half of the Cabinet would be women.

More women should be promoted in the boardroom under guidelines being pushed by The Business Secretary. Mr Cable said there were encouraging signs that firms were beginning to heed calls for gender equality – revealing figures suggesting that in the past three months, half of new appointments to FTSE company boards have been women.

He said he planned to ‘name and shame’ companies that fail to make further progress. One in ten of Britain’s biggest firms still has all-male boards. ‘It’s very, very important that women are there in numbers,’ Mr Cable said. ‘Our objective is to get a quarter of all board membership being women by 2015. Our current approach, which is trying to change the culture, trying to name and shame, I think will work. If it doesn’t, we can look at things like quotas. There is a body called the Financial Reporting Council that requires companies to declare publicly what they do. So companies will be in the future publicly identified and there will then be a role for me to go out and say publicly, “This is a disgrace, you should change your behaviour”.’

Asked whether he would introduce quotas if that approach failed to deliver the target figures, the Business Secretary said: ‘I would, yes. I think that’s a perfectly legitimate last resort. But I think the current approach that we have adopted is beginning to produce serious results, so let’s give it a chance.’

The EU has announced a consultation on how to increase women’s presence on corporate boards, warning that progress towards equality is too slow. Mandatory quotas are being threatened if member states fail to make sufficient progress. The EU’s Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding, has warned that on current rates of change, it will take more than 40 years for women to hold 40 per cent of board positions in Europe’s publicly traded companies.

In Britain, companies are working towards a voluntary target to increase the percentage of women on FTSE 100 boards to 25 per cent, up from 12.5 per cent last year. But business leaders have warned against compulsory quotas. On BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour the Business Secretary also took a swipe at David Cameron’s failure to meet an aspiration that a third of his ministers should be women. There are five women – all Conservative – in the Cabinet.

In a reference to the new French president’s decision to make half of his top team female, Mr Cable said: ‘If I ever finish up in Mr Cameron’s job, and who knows what could happen, you might well get a Francois Hollande moment.’

Meanwhile, Tory MP Peter Bone demanded that Vince Cable be sacked from the Cabinet after it emerged that the Business Secretary was in contact with Labour to discuss a possible alliance following the next election. At the weekend it was revealed that Mr Cable had held phone conversations with Labour leader Ed Miliband.

The appointment of a noted Leftie to such an important position, and the fact he’s still there, are indicators of how left-wing and feminist-friendly David Cameron is himself. I was warning of this two years ago, and herewith give you a chapter titled, ‘David Cameron: heir to Harman?’ from The Glass Ceiling Delusion:

120106 sample chapter from ‘The Glass Ceiling Delusion’

A small but important victory for meritocracy

[Note added 17 July 2012: It turned out I was wrong in thinking there’d been a small victory for meritocracy. After I posted the following it emerged that the government’s objections to quotas related only to EU-imposed quotas. The government from David Cameron down – and Vince Cable in particular – continues to threaten quotas if companies fail to ‘improve’ the proportion of women on their boards ‘voluntarily’. What might George Orwell have made of this abuse of the language, one wonders?]

Today’s papers bring welcome news of an important victory in the battle for meritocracy in British boardrooms. The government has made it known that it is to drop its threat to legislate for quotas for female directors in the boardroom. To what extent The Campaign for Merit in Business (‘CMB’) can claim any credit for bringing about this decision, we have no way of knowing, because the government – feminist-friendly in its senior reaches, most notably David Cameron himself – refuses to engage with us. Probably a bigger factor is the belated recognition that only a small number of women (compared with men) have the experience and expertise necessary to contribute effectively as board directors, even at the ‘gravy train’ non-executive director level.

But the CMB remains the only organisation in the UK articulating the case for meritocracy in business, and campaigning against special treatment for identifiable groups (e.g. women) at the expense of other groups (e.g. men). We know from whistle-blowers that our messages are getting across, and the government was faced with the unappealing prospect of imposing quotas for women when it’s clear that this could only damage UK plc, at a time when the economy needs all the help it can get.

Senior business people (men and women) are increasingly accepting the validity of the arguments we’re putting forward. The CBI – as these people’s representatives – should be articulating the case for meritocracy in British boardrooms but as readers of this blog will know, the organisation has caved in to feminist thinking on the matter of gender diversity in the boardroom, despite being unable to offer a shred of evidence to support its claim that gender diversity can be expected to improve corporate performance.

With the withdrawal of the threat of quotas for women in the boardroom, is the battle won? Far from it. This is a small, albeit critical, victory in the fight against ‘improved’ gender diversity in the senior levels of the corporate sector. The campaign to force more women onto boards is ideological in nature, and cannot therefore be defeated, only thwarted. One of the objectives of the CMB is to equip senior business people with the information and the resolve they require to thwart the manipulative women behind the campaign, along with their male collaborators, many of whom are ‘captains of industry’. Besides which, we have yet to see how the odious initiative spearheaded by EU Commissioner Viviane Reding will play out.

It’s presumably no coincidence of timing that the dropping of quotas was announced in parallel with the publication today of a study carried out for the ultra-left-wing Equality and Human Rights Commission (‘EHRC’). The report was drawn up by the Cranfield School of Management, which on gender matters reliably means The Cranfield International Centre for Women Leaders (‘CICWL’), long-term campaigners for more women on boards. Regular readers of this blog will be aware that CICWL is among many campaigning bodies which have been unwilling (or, more realistically, unable) to provide evidence to back up their assertions of a positive causal relationship between more women on boards, and improved corporate performance. I called the CICWL to ask for the job title of the lady mentioned in the article below, Elena Doldor, and was told by the lady on the switchboard that she didn’t know her job title, but her personal title is ‘Ms.’ Quelle surprise. Women working in the field of ‘gender diversity’ often seem to be titled ‘Ms.’ A little clue there to their left-wing politics.

My thanks to Michael Klein of http://sciencefiles.org for supplying me with a PDF of the ‘study’ in question. Enjoy:

120528 Cranfield School of Management report for EHRC

With the EHRC being so left-wing, what better paper to draw upon for an article on this topic than the Guardian? Obviously my political convictions prevent me from buying the paper but I was able to copy down the following article from today’s edition at the library. It’s basically a rehashed ‘glass ceiling’ story, as usual:

MALE ELITE BARS WOMEN’S WAY TO TOP, SAYS STUDY

The ‘male-dominated corporate elite’ occupying the boardrooms of the UK’s biggest companies is deterring the appointment of women to the upper echelons of corporate Britain, the equalities watchdog warns today. The first in-depth study of recruitment of non-executive directors by headhunters, carried out by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, finds that the men who hold the majority of seats around the tables of the 350 biggest companies listed in London tend to select new members with similar characteristics to themselves…

“The often subjective way of making appointments ends up replicating existing boards rather than bringing in talented women who bring real benefits to individual company performance and ultimately help Britain’s economic recovery,” said Lady Prosser, deputy chair of the EHRC.

It is now more than a year since Lord Davies, the former banker and a Labour trade minister, set out targets for women to hold 25% of boardroom positions by 2015, and the government is preparing to tell European policymakers that it does not endorse proposals for mandatory quotas in boardrooms across Europe…

In January this year there were 143 women in non-executive director roles in the  FTSE100 and only 20, or 6.6%, in executive roles.

The report for the EHRC, by Cranfield School of Management, was based on academic literature and interviews with 10 headhunting firms in London which had signed up to a new code. Elena Doldor, author of the report, says that headhunters needed to do more to keep women in the running for boardroom positions…

The study shows that the appointment of board members is often driven by a “homogeneous elite group of individuals at the top of the FTSE100 companies”…

Faking Public Opinion: how Viviane Reding abuses opinion polls for her own purpose

While the leading British culprit pushing for ‘improved’ gender diversity in company boardrooms is David Cameron – with his continuing threat of quotas – in the EU it’s Viviane Reding, a Commissioner. I am therefore grateful to Michael Klein of the German language blog http://sciencefiles.org for translating his article into English:

How EU Commissioner Viviane Reding abuses opinion polls

Cristina Odone writes about Dave’s fear of women voters

As a reader of the Daily Telegraph for 30+ years I despair of the lack of exposure given to gender politics (the Daily Mail is so much better in this area). The male journalists should strap on a pair and write about the topic, but maybe the editor (albeit male) forbids them to. The few articles about gender politics tend to be written by the lady journalists, among the best of whom is Cristina Odone. My thanks to Sylvia for bringing the following excellent blog piece by Ms Odone to my attention:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/cristinaodone/100159644/david-camerons-fear-of-women-voters-is-going-to-lead-him-and-the-country-to-economic-disaster/