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Saturday, 10 March 2012

Improving women's equality in the workplace is a major driver polarising from Europe, it's starting from the top down approach, the women in boardroom quotas syndrome is a topic which is getting attention from conservative women. David Cameron PM has spoke out on the concept of improving board representation by possible sanctions, imposing women quotas on boards.

There has been some disgruntled conservative women who prefer no direct sanctions and disagree with quotas. Their defence, it is patronising, demeaning and making them less worthy than competitive counter parts especially the male species.

The European Union is however taking the concept seriously, EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding, quoted in the New Zealand Herald today," It would take 40 years For women to hold 40% of the board positions in Europe's publicly traded companies." See full article;

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10790234


Europe may be leading on women representation on boards, the Davies Independent Review on Women on Boards in February 2011 highlighted the need to have aspirational alternative options and whilst not enforcing mandatory targets.

The report a year on, increasing representation of women on boards by 2015 will be unrealistic, slow progress is giving David Cameron's blue sky thinking a turn towards Norway model and a task for effective solutions. Davies report indicated a series of recommendations; from 2010 women made up of 12.5% of the corporate FTSE 100 companies, now they make up under 15%.

At the World Economic Forum highlighted women failed to meet requirements, 17% attended demonstrated the reality and visibility.

The quote "at the current rate of change, it will take 70 years to achieve gender-balanced boardrooms in the UK" within the Davies report speaks volumes, it's not far from truth. Leading business women are not fond of female quotas in the boardroom, Karren Brady, Mrs Moneypenny, Helena Morrissey and Marina Yannakoudakis MEP (Conservative Party, London). Marina reinforced her view to EU as "patronising" women. Quotas are unraveling whether these radical targets in Brussels press for change in British companies is down to changing mindsets.

The Daily Mail article; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2110292/EU-wants-law-enforce-minimum-quotas-women-boardroom.html  provides Marina's views, similar held at the seminar a Women's place in Europe at the European Parliament Information Office in the UK with audiences from NGO, Women lobby groups, and politician's.

As panellists executed, gender quotas, the tokenism approach will not create headroom, child care provision, flexible working policies and a shift in culture practice in the business sphere are required. Business myths, from women cannot make it alone undermine those which have successfully acquired positions, should they be helping other women as female mentors? Article in the Telegraph by Louisa Peacock highlights more of the details;
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/jobs/9123991/EU-quotas-would-patronise-women.html

Davies is leading the Government's review of the number of women on company boards, a new report in March awaits us.

As David Cameron refuses to rule out mandatory targets if companies fail to meet demands, the voluntary soft approach is still the preferred option amongst Lord Davies, British companies, conservative women and advocates.


First posted on the ConservativeWomensHub at www.conservativewomenshub.com 

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