"Pitiful" and "patronising" – the excuses given for the lack of female presence in FTSE boardrooms

The Hampton-Alexander Review, an independent review backed by the government to scrutinise the gender balance of boards at the top of the country’s leading companies, released a report this week which lists some of the excuses given by companies for a lack of female representation on their boards. The excuses given included:
“There aren’t that many women with the right credentials and depth of experience to sit on the board – the issues covered are extremely complex.”
“Most women don’t want the hassle or pressure of sitting on a board.”
“Shareholders just aren’t interested in the make-up of the board, so why should we be?”
“All the ‘good’ women have already been snapped up.”
“We have one woman already on the board, so we are done – it is someone else’s turn.”
“We need to build the pipeline from the bottom – there just aren’t enough senior women in this sector.”
In his response to the report, business minister Andrew Griffiths described the excuses received as both “pitiful” and “patronising”. The Hampton-Alexander Review, led by Sir Philip Hampton, has challenged all FTSE 350 companies to ensure at least one third of their board members are women by 2020. Despite these comments, there is some cause for optimism with the number of women on boards having more than doubled in the FTSE 350 since 2011.

Tom Fancett

About Tom Fancett

Tom has experience acting for both employers and employees, advising on the full spectrum of contentious and non-contentious matters. His experience includes advising on large commercial transactions, including redundancy and TUPE issues; undertaking buy side and sell side due diligence exercises into the employment aspects for multiple commercial transactions; coordinating multijurisdictional projects; defending Employment Tribunal claims in relation to unfair dismissal, disability and sex discrimination and whistleblowing; advising on day-to-day HR and disciplinary issues; drafting and negotiating settlement and service agreements; and reviewing company handbooks and template employment contracts.

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