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“We have one woman already - it is someone else’s turn”

Appalling explanations have been revealed as the reasons why more women aren’t on top company boards. These included “they don’t fit in”, “all the good ones have already gone” and “we have one woman already on the board, so we are done - it is someone else’s turn”.

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These reasons came from a range of FTSE 350 company chairs and chief executives, which were heard by the team behind the government-backed Hampton-Alexander Review.

 

The review has challenged all FTSE 350 companies to make sure at least a third of their board members and leadership are women by 2020.

 

The explanations include:

 

• “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, according to the most recent statistics. In that time, the number of all-male FTSE 350 company boards also fell from 152 to 10.

 

Commenting on the findings, Amanda Mackenzie, chief executive of Business in the Community, said: “As you read this list of excuses you might think it’s 1918 not 2018. It reads like a script from a comedy parody but it’s true.”

 

These explanations have been published ahead of the announcement of the latest figures for the number of women on FTSE 350 boards on 27 June, which will mark the halfway point of the independent Hampton-Alexander Review which launched in November 2016.

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