As the UK Government moves towards more detailed legislative proposals for enhancing corporate governance, it has published a list of “some of the worst excuses for not appointing women to FTSE boards”. Around 30% of FTSE350 companies have few or no women on their boards or in senior roles.

According to the research, which is being published as part of the Alexander- Hampton Review, excuses include:

  • ‘We have one woman already on the board, so we are done – it is someone else’s turn’
  • ‘all the good ones have already gone’
  • ‘Most women don’t want the hassle or pressure of sitting on a board’.

Commenting on the announcement, Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said such appalling explanations as those released today proved companies have more work to do. He said:

It’s shocking that some businesses think these pitiful and patronising excuses are acceptable reasons to keep women from the top jobs. Our most successful companies are those that champion diversity.

Looking back in to the Manifest archive, our first public report on board diversity in 2002 showed how far things have come. In Nov ’02 there were only 36 female executive directors and they were only paid 77% of their male equivalent’s salary!

The last word has to go to Chief Executive of Business in the Community Amanda Mackenzie:

As you read this list of excuses you might think it’s 1918 not 2018. It reads like a script from a comedy parody but it’s true. Surely we can now tackle this once and for all. Maybe those that give credence to these excuses are the ones that are not up to sitting on boards and should move over: we are in the 21st century after all.


Last Updated: 1 June 2018
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