The Hampton-Alexander Review in the U.K. which calls for bosses to ensure that at least a third of Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) company leadership positions are occupied by women by 2020, just released its progress report and the results are pretty dismal.
Mostly because while the number of all-male boards has decreased in the last six years, the excuses that companies make for not having more women on their boards of directors sound like they need a decade check. Among the worst:
- “I don’t think women fit comfortably into the board environment”
- “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?”
- “My other board colleagues wouldn’t want to appoint a woman on our board”
- “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”
- “There aren’t any vacancies at the moment–if there were I would think about appointing a woman”
- “We need to build the pipeline from the bottom–there just aren’t enough senior women in this sector”
- “I can’t just appoint a woman because I want to”
The number of women on boards has more than doubled in the FTSE 350 since 2011 while the number of all-male FTSE 350 company boards also fell from 152 to 10. According to research from MCSI, to get the full benefits of diversifying board chairs, there need to be at least three women. Currently, only 20.1% of boards globally have at least three women. Research from Catalyst found this “critical mass” of women can lead to better financial performance.