Should We Have Humans on Boards?

Should we have humans on boards? It is a ridiculous question, of course, but in all honesty no more ridiculous to me than the questions asked boardroomabout women and board membership.

Apparently a BBC breakfast show got in on the nonsense this morning (if the Twittersphere is correct) by asking what women bring to boards?

Flip that question; what do men bring to boards? No, that question probably wouldn’t make an item on prime time TV.  If it did one answer might be, given the mess we are in with banks etc, ‘total chaos’.  I’ll try to resist,  but you get my point. It’s a given that men have all the qualities required for board membership yet women have to prove themselves time and time again to get there.

I’m totally sick of my gender being patronised in this way. I don’t even want to play the game any more. It is self evident to me that women should be represented equally with men on boards and that we need a law to force us into a state of equality. As we have always done in the past, i.e. universal suffrage, abolishing slavery, equal pay act etc.

Already someone, somewhere, reading this, man or woman, will be clearing their throat ready to jump in with:

“But quotas will mean that there will be women on boards who aren’t up to the job.” Sometimes they even add in a burst of human kindness “It’s not fair to women, they will fail”

Yep, most likely some will. I see no problem with that as boards are full of incompetent males currently, (look at the recent history of the Coop Bank and try to imagine if Paul Flowers had been a woman, it doesn’t bear thinking about the* vitriol that would have been heaped upon her), along with some very competent ones. Humans, in fact, with human failings.

Yet the naysayers want to hold women to a higher standard.

Most women who reach positions where board membership is possible are, in fact, usually excellent at their job, as women are held to different (higher) standards in most organisations, it’s endemic and institutionalised.

So come on BBC. You are our national broadcaster. Try to get with the issues and stop perpetuating the gender imbalance. Time to take a long hard look at your gender bias.

*When Caroline Criado-Perez led a campaign to keep a woman pictured on British currency she was pilloried and attacked so much that a case went to court  with a successful prosecution.  She had to deal with death threats and rape threats etc. Appalling misogyny heaped on a woman who dared to challenge the establishment.

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Photo credit: Abdulhamid AlFadhly Stock Exchange

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Posted on March 26th, 2014 by

2 Responses to “Should We Have Humans on Boards?”

  1. …. as a wise person once said (wish I remembered who it was) “women will have reached equality when a mediocre woman will advance as would a mediocre man”….

    • Jane says:

      Absolutely, or as I heard it:
      “We’ll know we have full equality when half of all prominent/important posts are occupied by women and half of them are rubbish.”

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