The 10 sexist excuses that big companies give for not appointing women to boards

“We already have one woman.”
“We already have one woman.”
Image: Reuters/Andrea Comas
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It’s bad enough that women only account for 33% of all positions on corporate boards at 350 of the largest companies in Britain. However, the excuses given for why there are not more women are on boards are even worse.

On June 27, the UK government-backed Hampton-Alexander Review will unveil its latest findings and what can be done to increase the number. However, the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, which commissioned the review, decided to share some of the responses given to the research team ahead of the report’s release.

Business minister Andrew Griffiths said in a statement that ”these pitiful and patronizing excuses” proved companies have more work to do in getting more women to a senior level. Take a look for yourself.

  1. “I don’t think women fit comfortably into the board environment.”
  2. “There aren’t that many women with the right credentials and depth of experience to sit on the board—the issues covered are extremely complex.”
  3. “Most women don’t want the hassle or pressure of sitting on a board.”
  4. “Shareholders just aren’t interested in the make-up of the board, so why should we be?”
  5. “My other board colleagues wouldn’t want to appoint a woman on our board.”
  6. “All the ‘good’ women have already been snapped up.”
  7. “We have one woman already on the board, so we are done – it is someone else’s turn.”
  8. “There aren’t any vacancies at the moment—if there were I would think about appointing a woman.”
  9. “We need to build the pipeline from the bottom – there just aren’t enough senior women in this sector.”
  10. “I can’t just appoint a woman because I want to.”

The latest figures on the number of women on FTSE 350 boards will be published in the Hampton-Alexander review on June 27. It was initially launched in November 2016 and will reach its halfway point on that date. At last glance, there was still eight companies that had zero women (pdf) on their boards.