Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Gordon Brown on board with women

If you thought a Liberal Senator's now prorogued proposal to increase women's representation on corporate boards was a fly by night idea never to be heard of again, except from obscure political bloggers, consider this news from the UK yesterday: "Absence of women from top boards is unacceptable, says Gordon Brown."
In a statement to coincide with International Women's Day today, the PM said that if there was not a "dramatic change" in the composition of company boards in future, the government would consider "more serious action to ensure companies recruit from the diverse pool of exceptional talent we have in the UK".

Brown also announced that the government wants firms to report on what they are doing to increase the number of women in senior management positions. It is asking the Financial Reporting Council, the regulator responsible for promoting confidence in corporate governance, to consider including this requirement in its code of conduct.

Brown said: "We all recognise the value of strong role models for women in all walks of life – and there are many in politics, the arts, public services, sport and the third sector, but there are too few in Britain's boardrooms.

"When more than half of graduates are women, it is completely unacceptable that some of our top 100 public companies have not a single woman on their boards, and that none at all have a majority of women on their boards."

Only 10% of directors in Britain's top 100 companies are women, and 25 of the top firms have no women board members at all, the Cabinet Office said.

According to a survey released today, eight out of 10 people believe that increasing the number of women in boardrooms to match the number of men will improve the working of the business by providing a better understanding of customers.

Two-thirds believe firms are losing out on talent by having too few women in senior roles.
A notable statement from a G8 leader. Other political parties in this neck of the woods might take note.