Followers of the blog of our associated Campaign for Merit in Business http://c4mb.wordpress.com are well-informed about The 30% Club. Founded and still chaired by Helena Morrissey, Chief Executive of Newton Investment and mother of nine children, it recruits as ‘members’ chairmen of major British companies, professional services firms etc. to drive up the proportion of women on their boards, regardless of the compelling evidence which shows they’re damaging their organisations’ future financial prospects as a result. Here’s the current list of these despicable men http://30percentclub.org.uk/members.
I’m grateful to a supporter, DN, for recently informing me of an organisation formed in London earlier this year, The 2% Club http://thetwopercentclub.com. Their website contains some of the discredited claims still made to this day on the website of The 30% Club, so four days ago I emailed the club’s founder, Heather Jackson, with a simple challenge. I haven’t heard back from Ms Jackson, but if and when I do, you’ll be the first to know. Don’t hold your breath. The content of my email:
Heather, good evening. A supporter has pointed me towards your website. I was particularly struck by the statistics on this page:
The claims of improved performance (66% higher ROCE etc.) are, I believe, those made some years by Catalyst, an American militant feminist campaigning organisation. If so, you might be interested to know Catalyst have stopped making such claims, according to a leading academic proponent of more women in boardrooms, Professor Susan Vinnicombe, contained in her evidence to a House of Lords inquiry last year:
If you look at Catalyst’s ‘Bottom Line’ series of reports you’ll see they’re reporting correlation, not causation, and the reports’ editors make it clear causation cannot be concluded (or even inferred) from correlation. The reasons for correlations are well understood, and have nothing to do with corporate performance improving after more women reach boardrooms.
The reasons men outnumber women in boardrooms etc. are perfectly well understood, and discrimination against women isn’t one of them. I detailed them in my book The Glass Ceiling Delusion: the real reasons more women don’t reach senior positions. The most important reason was outlined by a renowned sociologist, Catherine Hakim, in 2000:
There’s compelling evidence that driving up female representation on boards leads to declines in corporate financial performance:
If you know of any longitudinal studies showing that increasing the number of women on senior teams (including boards of directors) leads to improved financial performance, would you be so good as to point me to them? Nobody else has been able to supply even one such study worldwide. Thank you.