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Women as Company Directors This report examines the role of women as company directors and explores the barriers

faced by women in aspiring to positions of high responsibility. It discusses the challenges women face in the working environment and how legislation has, to some extent, sought to equalise their position by removing discriminatory practices. It looks at the trends in women's employment and the benefits of employing women in management positions and examines the diverse qualities that women can bring to the board. In particular, attitudes towards the employment of women are considered and some attention has been given to the difficulties resulting from stereotypes and biases that many organisations, some government funded, are trying to eradicate. The findings of several key reports are summarised together with important statistics, which reflect the progress that both sociological changes and legislative developments have had on the numbers of women employed in the boardroom. Proposals for reform are also examined and the report concludes with a summary of arguments for and against the development of more rigorous measures to ensure the application of equality. Methodology The researcher has approached the title from a sociological perspective as many of the challenges and difficulties faced by women in a directorial role relate to sociological factors. To build an accurate picture of the key issues for discussion, the researcher began by attempting to define the role and key responsibilities of the director. Some time was spent collecting the latest figures in relation to the number of women employed as directors and a comparison was made between past and present figures, to ascertain progressive changes. This was followed by an examination of information websites relating to employment issues in general, to understand the challenges faced by women in such positions. A discussion of women as directors called for an assessment of the roles women traditionally undertake in employment, and the qualities they possess. A link between the number of women recruited and the types of skills thought to be essential for such roles was a recurring theme which received considerable attention in the research. The government website run by the Women & Equality Unit proved particularly helpful as this not only linked to all key legislation and reports, but it also gave further links to other related websites most of which were relevant. All legislation was sourced from

LexisNexis Butterworths but this proved to be a frustrating exercise due to the sheer quantity of relevant legislation and the many changes that have been implemented over recent years. As appropriate to any discussion which involves the development of legislation, some time was spent in examining proposals for change, and in formulating a balanced argument for and against enforcing equality. The role of the Director A director is an officer of a company who is a member of the board of directors . The role of the director, as part of the collective board, is to promote the success of the company by leading and directing its affairs . A director will "set the company's strategic aims, ensure that the necessary financial and human resources are in place for the company to meet its objectives, and review management performance." The role also requires a special understanding of the company's values and standards, and an appreciation for the obligations a company has to its shareholders and customers. An attempt to briefly define the role of the director reflects some of the challenges faced by companies in selecting appropriate directors to ensure board effectiveness. The Government has suggested that the most effective selection policy will recruit from the widest pool of talent. By failing to utilise the skills and talents of the entire workforce, they believe that the economy will lose out, as it will be operating below its productive potential . This is just one of the many reasons put forward for promoting women into senior roles and executive positions - however, despite an overwhelming interest in diversity in the boardroom, there is still a clear imbalance in the employment of women as directors and a strong suggestion that the real culture change that a true equality would require remains a challenge for British Organisations . Statistics The Female FTSE Index and Executive Summary reports that 78 FTSE 100 companies now have women directors, up 13% from last year (69 companies in 2004 and 58 in 2000). Women now make up 10.5% of all directorships in the FTSE and this figure is up from 5.8% in 2000. Female FTSE directorships have risen to 121, these seats being held by 99 women as some have multiple appointments. However, the number of female held directorships is down to 11 (3.4%) from 13 in 2004 and there is still only one female CEO and one female chairman. These statistics, whilst demonstrating positive improvements in the representation of women in the boardroom, show the need for improvement if equality is to be achieved. Women are still noticeable by their absence in the boardrooms of Britain's biggest firms. Companies such as Scottish Power and British Airways have shown the most dedication in achieving an equal representation, with nearly 30% of their boards female.

AstraZeneca, Pearson and Centrica have also demonstrated encouraging progress in selecting women for top positions. The 2005 FTSE Summary also reveals companies appointing their first ever woman director, including Intercontinental Hotels, Capita, ITV, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Sage. However, whilst it appears that a balance is being strived for in numbers, equality in other areas is lacking. The Women & Equality Unit reports that the full-time gender pay gap currently stands at 13.0 per cent using the median and 17.1 per cent using the mean. This means that women who work full time are paid on average just 87% of men's hourly earnings using the median and 82.9 per cent using the mean . These figures could be a gross underestimation. Buckingham reports that, when bonuses, benefits and other perks are taken into account, women directors earn only 45% of the amount their male boardroom colleagues' pocket. As an example, Belinda Earl, the fourth highest paid woman director, was paid a relatively modest 394,551 for the demanding job of chief executive of Debenhams . Elsewhere in the world, progress is comparatively slow and incremental. Natividad reports that when Jean Sisco, veteran of 24 consecutive board directorships and a pioneer for women holding board positions in Americas top companies, heard that there was 11.1% representation of women in the board rooms of U.S. Fortune 500 companies, she stated that "It's nowhere near enough" . Nonetheless, the report also shows some encouraging figures, with some 86% of American companies now have at least one woman on their board of directors, according to Catalyst. The figures reveal that advancement has been made but also that much is required before boards have a true representation of women as part of their composition. In order to identify the challenges faced by both organisations and women in achieving such a goal, a number of reports have been commissioned by various organisations and these will now be considered. Reports The Secretary of State, Patricia Hewitt, and the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, appointed Derek Higgs in April 2002 to prepare a review of the role and effectiveness of nonexecutive directors. This report contains many findings and recommendations which relate directly to the discussion of women as company directors. At that time Higgs noted that in the UK, only four per cent of executive director posts and six per cent of non-executive director posts were held by women, with less than one per cent of chairmen being female. Higgs felt that the composition of the board of directors was particularly important because it sends a message about the values of the

company. He reasoned that a commitment to an equal opportunities policy can be of value as a motivational factor as well as serving to boost a company's reputation however, such a commitment is undermined where board selection procedure fails to adhere to the same policy. Higgs identifies that critical to the improvement of effectiveness of non-executive directors is raising the quality of those appointed. Research undertaken for the report demonstrated that despite increased awareness for the value of diversity, the current population of non-executive directors was narrowly drawn. Higgs implores that "an open, fair and rigorous appointment process is essential" for a successful and effective board. His research reveals that such policy is generally not employed. Non-executive directors were found to be typically white males, nearing retirement age with previous PLC director experience. Further, it was found that appointments tended to originate from personal contacts and favoured candidates with similar backgrounds such as those with wide senior executive or PLC board experience. This would suggest an implicit tendency to discriminate against women, albeit indirectly. Higgs reiterates the need for a rigorous appointments process is important to offset such tendencies. Following Higgs' recommendations, Professor Laura Tyson, Dean of the London Business School, lead a further research project into how companies might draw on broader pools of talent to enhance board effectiveness. This report focused in particular on the benefits of diversity on the board and made suggestions for companies to overcome the practical difficulties in sourcing and recruiting suitable female candidates for these roles. Further research of note was published by the Government in December 2001 concerning the Gender Pay Gap . This attempts to identify the key drivers behind the gender pay gap and finds that the reasons for the pay gap are "complex and interconnected". Key factors cited include human capital differences (differences in educational levels and work experience) and the fact that women are still more likely than men to have breaks from paid work to care for children and other dependants. These breaks are said to impact on a women's level of work experience, which in turn impacts on their pay rates. Further factors identified include travel patterns, thought to be influenced by the time constraints placed on women due to balancing work and caring responsibilities. This was said to have an impact on women's pay in two ways: it affected the pool of jobs a woman could choose from and suggested that the impact of a large number of women wanting work in the same location (i.e. near to where they live) would lead to lower wages for those jobs.

The research further highlighted a high incidence of occupational segregation where women's employment is highly concentrated in certain occupations (60 per cent of working women work in just 10 occupations). Those occupations which are femaledominated were identified to be frequently the lowest paid. In addition, and of particular relevance, women were found to be under-represented in the higher paid jobs within occupations - a suggestion of the so-called "glass ceiling" effect. This report is particularly relevant to a study of women as directors because it touches on some of the challenges that working women experience. It is a fact that women often have different commitments to men and these mean that a women's working life has varied demands requiring flexibility and understanding on the part of her employer. It is necessary to ask whether these differences influence an employer in their selection of candidates, and whether legislation directed at assisting women in the work-life balance is adequate to ensure they do not lose out on opportunities as a result of their unique position. A final report worthy of mention related to research carried out by Brad Googins, CoPrincipal Investigator for the Sloan Work and Family Research Network at Boston College, USA. It identifies the factors that played a key role in acting as barriers to the success of women in achieving higher positions, as follows: Limits based on stereotypes about women Lack of mentors or coaches Exclusion from the old boy network Managing work with home responsibilities Isolation These provide useful milestones in the investigation of the challenges and difficulties faced by women employed or aspiring to employment in higher positions. An enquiry into stereotypes begins with a general discussion of women's roles in the workplace. Women's roles in the workplace The lack of women as directors is somewhat puzzling when consideration is given to other professions in the UK; a study of the population of managers overall reveals some 30% are female according to Higgs. Higgs suggests that the reason for the small number of female directors may be, at least in part, that areas where women tend to be more strongly represented are in roles such as "human resources, change management and customer care" which are not regarded as traditional routes to the board. Yet such roles offer the opportunity for highly relevant experience which would be directly applicable to a director's position. This suggests that recruitment to directorial positions may be done using criteria which are unrealistic, undefined or outdated. This

is what is meant by exclusion from the "old boy network" - female candidates are being passed up for employment because they do not possess the type of experience acquired by their male counterparts. A further issue revealed by the Labour Force Survey suggests that not only are women under represented on the board, but minority ethnic women may face even greater challenges in achieving such positions. Around 2.3 million minority ethnic women and 2.3 million minority ethnic men in the UK. However, the survey shows that people from ethnic minorities are generally more likely than white people not to be in work and on benefits. It reveals that employment rates for ethnic minorities are generally lower than those for whites and across all ethnic groups, women are less likely to be employed than men. Further, minority ethnic women with a child under five are less likely to be in employment than white women, with the employment rate for Pakistani/Bangladeshi women being particularly low at 18%. These figures are disturbing as they show that despite considerable reform in legislation, ethnic minority women are particularly underrepresented in employment. The Labour Force Survey reveals other working trends which suggest more specific problems faced by ethnic minority women that would create barriers to them aspiring to directorial positions. The report indicates that women are much more likely than men to work part-time and this holds for all ethnic groups. Further, unemployment rates for both women and men from ethnic minorities are substantially higher than those for whites. The highest rates are for black people, and those from Pakistan and Bangladesh, who are three times as likely to be unemployed as white people. On a positive note, the FTSE report suggests that there is at least some representation of ethnic minority women amongst those women who have achieved board positions. The report states that the "new female directors bring a much greater diversity of experience to the board than their male counterparts - derived from their gender, nationality, ethnicity, reputation, board experience, professional skills and sectoral work experience". Again, whilst these are positive findings, much needs to be done before boards can be said to be truly representative and the special challenges faced by ethnic women suggest a need for positive discrimination to counteract the substantial difficulties they face. Further, much needs to be done to break down the traditional stereotypes that still prevail in our society. The Equal Opportunities Commission have identified that these stereotypes continue to prevail in schooling and careers advice, doing little to break down gender barriers to real employment opportunity (The Guardian, 31 March 2005). Women's qualities as directors Reports such as the FTSE reveal that women directors have experience spanning more

sectors of activity than the male directors. It is therefore necessary to ask what qualities women can bring to the role of director and whether employers are looking for the right qualities when considering applicants. The report "Brighter Boards for a Brighter Future" suggests that employing personnel from diverse backgrounds means companies represent - and better understand the customers they want to attract. However, such candidates could easily be overlooked for lack of business experience. Higgs refutes the idea that business experience is a necessity, explaining that the qualities for an effective contribution to the board can be acquired from a variety of backgrounds. As identified earlier, the skills that women have acquired in the types of roles they undertake traditionally could offer a varied and complementary perspective that can only significantly benefit board performance (Higgs, 2002). Higgs further explains the benefits that corporations catering for women consumers are reaping from having a women representative in the boardroom. This is reflected positively by figures from Greggs, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury, and Carpetright, all of whom have women directors that make up more than a quarter of the board. Buckingham explains that companies already rely heavily on women for every day managerial responsibilities and, if women can manage across the board, there is no reason why they should not be on the board itself. "If companies want to appeal to women as consumers and as a workforce, what better way to tap into that perspective than by having women on the board?" (Buckingham, 2002) The Tyson report further suggests an existing flawed recruitment selection and proposes that the selection process should rest on a careful assessment of the needs and challenges of a particular company, employing a board, transparent and rigorous search to reflect such an assessment. Rather than recruiting for candidates who possess the types of experience traditionally thought of as relevant, a company should aim to appoint directors who can bring a diverse range of backgrounds, skills and experiences and thus offer a wider range of perspectives and knowledge. These qualities will have a positive influence on important issues such as company performance, strategy and risk. The Tyson report explains that the optimisation of board membership is vital for company performance and competitiveness, whilst playing an important role in restoring shareholder and public trust in UK boardrooms. "Board discussions are richer when individuals with diverse backgrounds and perspectives participate," said Julie Daum, practice leader for the North American Board Service Practice of Spencer Stuart. But she identifies that finding qualified women and minority candidates is a challenge. Boards have a responsibility to their shareholders to

properly appoint directors who add value to the board and to the company in general. She points to "only a small number of women and minorities among senior corporate executives" who are in high demand." This summaries the issues revealed by this section, which can be presented as two questions; Should companies be required to employ diversely, even if this means employing a lesser qualified candidate?, and Is there really a shortage of appropriate candidates or are the criteria for effective candidates misguided? These questions are key to the discussion of appointment of women directors and will be referred to again at a later stage. At this point it would seem appropriate to identify the particular challenges faced by women in employment, particularly at senior level, and to examine the legislative provisions enacted to help counter these challenges. Challenges and Legislation The Government has stated that it is working to put an end to all forms of discrimination, whether based on age, disability, gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. Extensive anti discrimination legislation has been developed and is the subject of ongoing reform. Specifically, proposals are in place to eliminate discrimination and promote equality of opportunity between men and women. However, the extent and scope of legislation aimed towards equality provides a clue to the special challenges faced by women in the workplace. The main body of sex discrimination law can be found in the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 ("SDA"). The SDA makes sex discrimination unlawful in employment, vocational training, education, the provision and sale of goods, facilities and services and premises. In relation to employment and vocational training, it is unlawful to discriminate against someone on the grounds that a person is married or a civil partner, or on the grounds of gender reassignment. It also covers non-contractual arrangements including benefits such as discretionary access to a workplace nursery or travel concessions. The Act prohibits both direct and indirect discrimination, victimisation, discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy or maternity leave, sexual harassment and harassment on the grounds of sex . Complementary provisions are also contained in the Equal Pay Act 1970 ("EPA"), although these are restricted to discrimination relating to terms and conditions of employment. The Act makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate between men and women where they are doing the same or similar work, work rated as equivalent, or work which is of equal value though different in nature. It covers both pay and other terms and conditions such as piecework, output and bonus payments, holidays and sick leave. Consideration of European law confirms that the Act also prevents discrimination

in relation to redundancy payments, travel concessions, employers' pension contributions and occupational pension benefits. The provisions of domestic law are, of course, to be interpreted to accord with relevant European Community legislation. Applicable legislation includes the Equal Treatment Directive, Article 141 of the EC Treaty and the Equal Pay Directive. The Human Rights Act 1998 is also important as this provides that domestic legislation is to be interpreted in accordance with certain provisions of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Other relevant EC legislation includes EC Directive 79/7 on the progressive implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women in matters of social security; EC Directive 86/378 on the implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women in occupational social security schemes; and EC Directive 86/613 on the application of the principle of equal treatment between men and women engaged in an activity, including agriculture, in a self-employed capacity, and on the protection of self-employed women during pregnancy and motherhood . These extensive provisions reflect the government's vision of a modern Britain with equality and equal opportunity for all. However, ensuring that legislative provisions protect women from discrimination and positively enforce equality does not necessary change recruitment practice. A recent poll revealed that more than eight out of ten HR professionals in Britain believe bosses automatically think twice before employing women of 'childbearing age.' The online poll was carried out following the controversial comment of Godfrey Bloom (UK Independence Party) that "no small businessman with a brain in the right place would hire a lady of childbearing age". These biases undoubtedly have an effect on the minds of those in a position to appoint women to higher positions of responsibility. Further, as the Higgs report revealed, there is a tendency to select directors with a similar experience and background to those already on the board. This again presents an obstacle to the appointment of women into higher positions. Such practices may provide examples of indirect discrimination although this is notoriously difficult to prove. There is often little direct evidence of discrimination, particularly where the board is able to dictate its own selection policy and can include factors that it feels are essential qualities for the role; qualities that few women candidates may have had the opportunity of developing. In such difficult cases, employment tribunals are forced to draw inferences from the primary facts and have been told by the higher courts not to assume too readily discrimination in the absence of substantive explanation from the employer . These difficulties have been in part rectified by adopting the provisions of the Sex Discrimination Burden of Proof Directive (97/80/EC) by way of the Sex Discrimination

(Indirect Discrimination and Burden of Proof) Regulations 2001 . This alters the burden of proof in sex discrimination cases so that it rests on the employer once the employee has established a prima facie case. In practice, if the employee can successfully establish the facts, a tribunal may make a finding of sex discrimination in the absence of any other adequate explanation from the employer. Of note, the regulations also widen the scope of indirect discrimination, which can now include any provision, criterion or practice that has a disparate impact between men and women. Such impact may result from practices that are to the detriment of a considerably larger proportion of women than men. There is unquestionably substantial legislative developments aimed at countering the specific problems women face in employment. However, despite all positive reforms, two arguments arise from sex discrimination legislation. The first is that legislation in its current form is confusing and fragmented. The quantity of statues that relate to issues faced by women in employment is substantial and this makes the law unclear and inaccessible. Women will find it hard to assert their rights if they are not even aware of them. The second significant argument is that it is not enough to impose substantial legislation without enforcing it. For example, despite reforms aimed at protecting women who are pregnant or are new mothers, it is estimated that one million women workers in Britain could find themselves sacked, bullied or demoted over the next five years just for becoming pregnant. The two year investigation carried out by the Equal Opportunities Commission suggested that every year almost half of the 440,000 pregnant women in the UK experience some form of disadvantage at work, simply for being pregnant or taking maternity leave. Of that number, 30,000 are forced out of their jobs entirely, missing out on 12m in statutory maternity pay, the study claims (The Guardian, 2005). This suggests that it is not just legislation that is lacking but also awareness and enforcement of legislative provisions. Proposals In terms of proposals for the future of women as directors, Higgs has many practical suggestions. In response to the difficulties faced in recruiting suitable candidates, he states that lawyers, accountants and consultants are all used to working in an advisory capacity to business and to analysing and learning about a business from the outside. He suggests that these people possess suitable skills that would be useful to the board and, significantly, such groups contain a relatively high proportion of women. Practical measures have been taken to better understand the challenges of women in making advancement in the workplace and the "Advancing Women in the Workplace Project" has been funded by the European Commission as part of this initiative.

The Women and Equality Unit (WEU) in the Department of Trade and Industry have led the project on behalf of the United Kingdom, working in partnership with the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and Opportunity Now as UK partners. Ireland and Denmark have also provided support to the UK in the project through the Irish Ministry of Justice, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, and the Danish Research Centre on Gender Equality. The research is aimed at highlighting the increasingly significant role of women in the European Union Economy and identifying the considerable barriers that remain to opportunity and advancement. Examples of good practice were collated from other countries across the EU and from these, effective strategies to combat stereotyping and encourage flexible working policies were brought together in a handbook which has been marked for distribution to employers and trade unions. Legislation affecting women in employment is under constant reform and there are many proposals on what can be done to improve existing provisions. The Government states that it is currently undertaking a comprehensive review of discrimination legislation to "simplify and address the inconsistencies across equality laws". A green paper containing the proposed changes is expected in Summer 2006, and it is anticipated that this will contain steps towards a single equality bill in line with the Government's manifesto (Women & Equality Website). Despite reform being on the cards, Higgs suggests that legislation is not the way forward. His report builds on what he calls the "comply or explain" approach, established by Sir Adrian Cadbury in the 1990's. Companies are required to report if and how they apply the principles of the Code, and where they do not comply, they must state why not. He believes this approach has worked well, although this would seem inconsistent with the difficulties identified in enforcing legislation earlier. However, the EOC has said it was encouraged that more employers were embracing family-friendly working practices. These are of course not all obligatory and would appear to have stemmed from self regulation and the commitment of some employers to helping their employees achieve an effective work life balance. Despite this, far too many organisations and businesses remain prone to sidelining mothers onto a so-called 'Mummy track' where career choices were much more limited. The EOC have said that the government must develop a national family strategy to replace what it criticised as its current "piecemeal" approach to childcare and family issues . Jenny Watson of the EOC has concluded that "Without addressing women's responsibilities at home as well as work, we will continue to lose out on women's talent, and ignoring the potential contribution that women can make will cost Britain dear in terms of productivity."

For equality why diversity makes sense Diversity best practice guide highlights that high performance workplaces get the most from every part of their business by creating a valued, diverse and involved workforce. Key factors to a successful and effective workforce include a commitment to equality and the promotion of equal opportunities. The report suggests the necessity to draw a workforce from "all corners of the community" . The report "Brighter Boards for a Brighter Future" identifies the need for change, not only because it makes "good business sense for companies to reflect their customer base" at management level but also because having more women and people from diverse backgrounds on the board of directors means that companies are more able to understand and represent their customers' needs and wants. This in turn leads to increased competitiveness and productivity, and the board benefits from a wider range of skills and opinions. The Brighter Boards report identifies the key benefits of a diverse board of directors, as: The ability to be able to recognise potential new markets and attract a much wider customer base; Increased success over competitors - research shows that organisations with high quality human resources or personnel systems, which incorporate equality, deliver better products and services and ultimately better shareholder value; A wider portfolio of skills at hand at the top of the organisation, which is bound to be good for business; A better understanding of customers and therefore the ability to provide a more tailored service to meet individual needs; The ability to develop role models for younger people in the organisation, encouraging them to stay and become the leaders of tomorrow; and The assurance that the company has the best executives at all levels of management. (Paraphrased from the report "Brighter Boards for a Brighter Future") There are clearly very strong arguments for diversity which are difficult to refute and thus, proposals for change to facilitate the implementation of diverse boards must be taken very seriously. However, in any discussion, opposing arguments should also be considered. Against equality It has been argued that making equality compulsory could lead to appointments made, not on the merits of the candidate, but simply to meet employment criteria. Companies already carry out equal opportunity monitoring and ensure that they employ a proportion of minority candidates to meet specific legislative requirements. Such employment policy may not be best practice in selecting the "right" people for the job.

Further, an important reason why women decide to work part-time is that they need to care for children or dependent adults. Only a very small proportion of male part-timers limit their hours as a result of responsibilities for children or adults. This suggests that men are often (although not always) in a better position to undertake the heavy responsibility of directorships. There is a risk that imposing a burden on companies to employ a proportion of women will mean that they are required to employ persons less capable of fulfilling their duties as directors, just to meet legislative criteria. These arguments are of course purely speculative but have been raised in reports and do parallel the existing burdens placed on companies by current anti discriminatory legislation in other areas. Conclusion This report has examined the role of the director and identified that despite encouraging figures, there remains a significant and noticeable imbalance between the number of men and women occupying director positions. It has also commented on the difference in pay between men and women which, despite substantial legislation, remains significant. It has examined the benefits of diversity on the board of directors and concluded that traditional business experience is not the only skill of value to a board that seeks to represent its shareholders and customers effectively. Appointing directors from other sectors and backgrounds can be seen to have some positive and valuable advantages to the company. However, it has also identified that existing employment practices tend to discriminate against women. Stereotypes and biases make it more difficult for women to attain higher positions of responsibility, particularly women in ethnic minorities, with recruitment criteria and policy based on old school practices rather than on an accurate assessment of a company's needs. There is a lack of willingness to explore the idea that recruitment from a wider pool could be advantageous - this must be balanced against the board's obligation to recruit responsibly, in the best interests of their shareholders. Further, the special circumstances and commitments that women face make them less appealing as candidates for directorial positions. A lack of suitable candidates make the task of employing a diverse board difficult. Existing legislative provisions have been examined in detail and whilst it is appreciate that they are extensive, it is recognised that they are fragmented and confusing. A single equality act is proposed and this ties in with the finding that women need to be

better informed of their rates as the existence of legislative provisions alone will not (and do not) protect them. An examination has been made of both the legislative and practical proposals put forward to improve women's prospects in employment, particularly at a higher level. Some consideration has been made of the arguments against diversity - indeed, it is a recurring theme through the paper that positive discrimination is a possibility and the arguments presented are certainly relevant in a discussion against this proposal. It would appear that the days of an all male boardroom are numbered, however the changes are brought about. Harman comments that it would be inconceivable now that there should ever again be an all-male Cabinet - public opinion would find it unconvincing to be told that the country could be governed by men alone. She explains that this is a parallel to the boardroom - a body representing a company whose customer base is diverse cannot conceivably be all male . The message from the extensive research examined is that progress is steady, but slow. Women are gradually making it into the boardroom, albeit, for the most part, as the only woman on the board . Research does however suggest that changing demographics may force on companies what Government and political correctness cannot impose. Bibliography i. Denny, R (Ed) (2004) Company and Partnership Practice, Ilex Tutorial College, Bedford ISBN 1-84256-212-5 ii. BBC News: Women Still Face the Glass Ceiling (Thursday 30 December 2004) iii. Brighter Boards for a Brighter Future iv. Buckingham, Lisa (November 3 2002) "What Happened to Girl Power?", p.6, Mail on Sunday, Associated Newspapers Ltd. v. Female FTSE Index and Executive Summary (2005) available from vi. Googins, B (2001) Women Leaders in a Global Economy: The Challenges for Senior Executives, Volume 3(2) The Network News, Sloan Work and Family Research Network, Boston College vii. Higgs, D (2003) Review of the Role and Effectiveness of Non Executive Directors, available at viii. Howe, E (1997) Women on the Boards of Britain's Top 200 Companies 1997 ix. Management Issues News (17 September 2004), Bosses 'think twice' before employing women x. Natividad, I (2006) Women and Corporate Boards, Women Director International,

available from xi. Stuart, S (Feb 21 2006) High Demand for Diverse Directors But Low Supply, Spencer Stuart 2006 Board Diversity Report, NEW YORK, Feb. 21 PR Newswire xii. Tyson, L (June 2003) The Tyson Report on the Recruitment and Development of Non-Executive Directors xiii. Ward, L (Thursday 31 March 2005) Gender split still thrives at work - report identifies failures by firms, schools and government, The Guardian Newspaper xiv. Ward, L (Thursday June 30 2005) A million mothers may face job victimisation pregnancy can mean sack or bullying, says watchdog, The Guardian Newspaper

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