Can't Get Distaff: The Vast Majority of Leading UK Firms Still Have No Female Executive Directors. Camilla Berens Finds That There Are More Complex Forces Behind the Continuing Lack of Women in Board-Level Jobs Than Old-Fashioned Sex Discrimination
Berens, Camilla, Financial Management (UK)
Less than a century ago the idea that a woman could become an MR let alone PM, was inconceivable. Women may have come a long way in their fight for equal standing since achieving full suffrage in 1928, but it's surprising to see how few are attaining positions of power. Today they make up only 20 per cent of MPs in the Commons and less than a quarter of the Cabinet. At the upper echelons of the business world, progress is even slower: just under 15 per cent of non-executive directors on FTSE-100 boards are women--and the proportion of female executive directors in these companies is a paltry three per cent.
So why, more than 30 years after the Sex Discrimination Act created the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), are so many women still failing to make it to the top of the corporate ladder? Is sex discrimination more prevalent in the boardroom than it is in Westminster's corridors of power? If the stories emerging from the recent spate of employment tribunals are anything to go by, sexism in the City is still very much part of daily life. Such cases have revealed that female high-flyers in the Square Mile still receive smaller bonuses than those awarded to their male colleagues; that senior male executives still openly refer to their female colleagues as "totty"; and that certain City grandees still classify women as "nannies, grannies or fannies", as former Tory MP Teresa Gorman so indelicately puts it.
Although more significant progress has been made in the public sector following several government initiatives to support women's careers, it seems that the private sector is failing to recognise their specific needs as they rise through the ranks. The EOC's annual "Sex and power" index paints a bleak picture of the future for working women across the board. The report concludes by suggesting that, unless certain barriers are removed, it will take 20 more years to achieve sexual equality in the upper grades of the civil service and twice that time for the same balance to be reached in FTSE-100 boardrooms.
Even the UK's more progressive blue-chip companies are failing to provide an environment …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Can't Get Distaff: The Vast Majority of Leading UK Firms Still Have No Female Executive Directors. Camilla Berens Finds That There Are More Complex Forces Behind the Continuing Lack of Women in Board-Level Jobs Than Old-Fashioned Sex Discrimination. Contributors: Berens, Camilla - Author. Magazine title: Financial Management (UK). Publication date: April 2006. Page number: 14+. © 2009 Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). COPYRIGHT 2006 Gale Group.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.