The worst sexist excuses keeping women out of FTSE boardrooms

Report says executives claim women ‘don't want the hassle’ of top jobs


Bosses at FTSE-listed companies are using “pitiful and patronising” excuses to keep female employees out of boardrooms, according to a newly published government review.

Backed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the report details a list of the “worst” excuses in a bid to “shame” FTSE-listed firms into action, The Daily Telegraph says. The review also found that ten of the largest firms in the UK do not have a single female board member.

Executives at a number of major companies claim that women “can’t deal with complex issues” and “don't want the hassle” of being at the top of the hierarchy, the report reveals.

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Other excuses include assertions that “women don’t fit comfortably into the board environment” and that “all the ‘good’ women have already been snapped up”.

Ministers have condemned the current level of inequality as “outrageous”, reports the Daily Mail. Sir Philip Hampton, who is leading the review into gender representation in FTSE-listed companies, says these firms need to “step up to the plate”.

“A lot of companies are not showing the rate of progress we expect. I think almost always it’s white men who are at the top, and my sense is that there is an expectation growing up that senior positions will be occupied by white men,” he said.

“The notion that any portion of our leadership should be permanently inhabited by men is wrong. We’ve got to do more at the appropriate pace. We can’t wait for people’s lives to go past. There’s a lot of work to do.”

Business Minister Andrew Griffiths added: “It’s shocking that some businesses think these pitiful and patronising excuses are acceptable reasons to keep women from the top jobs.”

Here are ten of the worst excuses listed by the report:

  1. “I don’t think women fit comfortably into the board environment.”
  2. “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.”
  3. “Most women don’t want the hassle or pressure of sitting on a board.”
  4. “Shareholders just aren’t interested in the make-up of the board, so why should we be?”
  5. “My other board colleagues wouldn’t want to appoint a woman on our board.”
  6. “All the ‘good’ women have already been snapped up.”
  7. “We have one woman already on the board, so we are done. It is someone else’s turn.”
  8. “There aren’t any vacancies at the moment. If there were, I would think about appointing a woman.”
  9. “We need to build the pipeline from the bottom - there just aren’t enough senior women in this sector.”
  10. “I can’t just appoint a woman because I want to.”

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