Is Lord Davies's women on boards quota aim patronising?

Lord Davies’s independent review into women on boards has been released today.

Lord Davies recommends that UK-listed companies in the FTSE 100 should be aiming for a minimum of 25% female board member representation by 2015.

Lord Davies said, “Currently 18 FTSE 100 companies have no female directors at all and nearly half of all FTSE 250 companies do not have a woman in the boardroom. Radical change is needed in the mindset of the business community if we are to implement the scale of change that is needed.”

But how much will getting more female-bums-on-boardroom-seats make a real difference to female equality in the workplace and gender stereotypes?

While this is not a mandatory quota, more of a recommendation, the idea of gender quotas in business is dangerous territory.

There is a danger that women who work their way up could be seen as merely meeting government guidance rather than being an equal and valid member of the board, undermining the perception of women in the workplace and among male peers.

On the other hand, perhaps more female role models at the top of the tree could encourage more female talent to aspire to higher positions.

A podcast with FT featuring Lord Davies, Anna Ford, Miles Templeman, Alison Carnwath, Julie Meyer and Julia Budd shared their thoughts on the recommendations, available here.

 

 

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