Qantas increases the number of women on its board and in its senior executive levels. Hurrah! S&P reduces Qantas’s credit rating to ‘junk’. Oops.

[Note: the material on this blog piece was later published, on 20.12.13, by ‘A Voice for Men’:

The comment stream is worth reading, as usual with AVfM.]

We now know a good deal about the impact of increasing female representation on corporate boards. Longitudinal studies (the only ones of any relevance, as they separate causation from correlation) of companies in the United States, Germany and Norway show it leads to corporate financial decline. Our briefing paper on the matter has the Abstracts and URLs of five such studies:

Across the developed world major corporations are increasing female representation on their boards and senior executive levels, sometimes under government pressure, sometimes not. For anyone with an interest in this subject we suggest spending some time on the website of our associated initiative, Campaign for Merit in Business

We’re indebted to M, a supporter who lives in Eastern Europe, for pointing us to some intriguing pieces. He’s just come up with a new one, a real gem, relating to Qantas. From Wikipedia’s entry on the company:

Qantas Airways Limited is the flag carrier of Australia. The name was originally ‘QANTAS’, an acronym for ‘Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services’. Nicknamed ‘The Flying Kangaroo’, Qantas is Australia’s largest airline, the oldest continuously operated airline in the world, and the second oldest in the world overall… Qantas carries a 65% share of the Australian domestic market and carries 18.7% of all passengers travelling in and out of Australia.

Qantas has been going through turbulent times (pun intended). With fairly stable revenues and passenger numbers, it moved from an A$249 million profit after tax in 2010/11, to losses of A$244 million in 2011/12, and a derisory profit of just A$6 million in 2012/13. Also from Wikipedia:

In August 2011 the company announced that, due to financial losses and a decline in market share, major structural changes would be made. Up to 1,000 jobs would be lost in Australia…

The last thing Qantas would need in such difficult times would be time-consuming and distracting initiatives to drive up female representation on its board and senior executive levels. Under government pressure, however, that’s exactly what it’s faced for years, since at least 1999. Our thanks to M for pointing us to a 24-page document which will be depressing reading for any normal intelligent person – gender feminists, by contrast, will love it – Qantas’s 2011/12 report to the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA):

131207 Qantas 201112 report

To protect your sanity we’ve extracted from the document just a little of the content, from p.3:


The Qantas Group is covered by the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999 (Commonwealth) and to comply with the Act is required to:

– Develop an equal opportunity for women in the workplace program

– Report annually (by 31 May) to the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) on the program and its effectiveness.

The report is being submitted on behalf of the Qantas Group and covers our workplace program gender diversity activities during the reporting period 1 April 2011 – 31 March 2012.

Diversity Highlights for 2011/2012 


– The Qantas Board of Directors appointed one additional woman, increasing female representation to 25%, up by 8% since the last reporting period.

– Qantas has 57% female representation on the Qantas Foundation Board, as 4 of the 7 Directors are women.

– 2 of the 10 Directors of the Qantas Superannuation Board, including the Chairman are women, representing 20% of the Board.

– During the reporting period, the number of women employed on the Qantas Executive Committee (ExCo), reporting directly to the CEO increased to 3 or 27%. This is a significant increase from having zero representation 3 years ago in 2009.

– Qantas’ Company Secretary is female.

– The number of women in Senior Management roles (levels 2-4 in Table A) increased by 2% to 29% during the reporting period.

<End of extract. We apologise for inflicting that on you.>

So what’s been the consequence of the relentless march of women into senior roles at Qantas, both before and during the period in which the company has faced severe financial difficulties? Well, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) have just cut Qantas’s credit rating to ‘junk’ (link below). Oops.

In an effort to pour salt into Qantas’s wounds, Australia’s government is refusing to bail out the company, despite having assaulted it with gender diversity initiatives since at least 1999. We expect this matter will be resolved by an Asian company – probably a Chinese one – taking over Qantas, and immediately cancelling all such stupid initiatives. We assume that Australian feminists, and the politicians who’ve pandered to them for so long, are proud to have brought a once-great company to its knees.

As time goes on, across the developed world, we’ll see ever more examples of major companies being destroyed by gender diversity initiatives, and the Chinese in particular buying the assets at rock-bottom prices.

About Mike Buchanan

I'm a men's human rights advocate, writer, and publisher. My primary focus is leading the political party I launched in 2013, Justice for Men & Boys (and the women who love them). I still work actively on two campaigns I launched in early 2012, Campaign for Merit in Business and the Anti-Feminism League. In 2014 I launched The Alternative Sexism Project, aiming to raise public understanding that the sexism faced by men and boys has far more grievous consequences than the sexism faced by women and girls.
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  • Very good article . It proves what I knew for years that Quotas hurt business . Of Corse . Should be based on merit . And still a lot of people don’t see that and they make an investments in countries which don’t respect business and glamorize politically correctness ,sisterhood and feminism . Why they don’t see the big picture . Why would you want to invest you hard earn money in a hostile environment like that is beyond me ?? If I were a CEO I would not advise my share holders to invest their money in that kind of companies .

    • Thanks Viktor. A third of FTSE100 chairmen are members of The 30% Club, an initiative launched and still led by Helena Morrissey, CEO of Newton Investment Management, mother of nine children, to drive up the proportion of women on major corporate boards. We believe that the FTSE100 support this direction of travel because it brings politicians support – the British government continues to threaten legislated gender quotas if FTSE100 companies haven’t ‘voluntarily’ achieved 25% female representation on their boards by 2015 – and in return politicians pass legislation driving women into paid employment, and away from the home, caring for children. This benefits ‘big business’ in a number of ways including:

      -an increased labour supply has a depressing effect on wages etc.
      – an increased demand for goods and services

      Not one FTSE100 director – maybe 500 – 1,000 people? – is on record as opposing ‘more women in the boardroom’, to the best of my knowledge. All FTSE100 chairmen and CEOs have received our briefing paper on how increasing female representation on major corporate boards leads to financial performance decline. We believe one of their motivations is that ‘more women in the boardroom’ will harm their smaller competitors disproportionately more, so there’s a bizarre ‘competitive advantage’ to all this. We know the FTSE250 (101 – 350 largest companies by market capitalisation) are next in the government’s firing line, and that 25% female representation on boards is ‘a major milestone on a longer journey’. We can be very sure the target is not less than 50%, however few well-qualified women there are for major corporate boards. Virtually all the new female directors are appointed as non-executives, in common with virtually all the existing FTSE100 female directors. The same was true in Norway after the introduction of legislated gender quotas, but the impact on corporate financial performance was STILL negative.

  • Jericho One

    At the very least, our self-imposed handicap gives developing countries a chance to play catch-up, but once they’ve overtaken us, will they want to give up their top slots so easily?

    In my view, the economic benefits of business are only secondary – trade and competition stops nations going stagnant. Now that business has become a vehicle of social engineering, not only will the financial health of the nation suffer, but also its mental health and purpose.

  • Pingback: Attaining Respect in a Man’s World | M3()

  • I live in the Canadian province of Ontario. We have a female premier (Kathleen Wynne) who is currently heading a scandal plagued government. Before the 2011 provincial election her predecessor Dalton McGuinty cancelled two gas plants that were under construction so he wouldn’t lose those seats. McGuinty said that would only cost $40 million to cancel. When it looked like it would cost more he resigned and the party elected Katleen Wynne to takeover.

    In June this year preliminary estimates on the gas plant cancellation were announced at
    $675 million. And what does Kathleen Wynne do? She announces that they are going to force the boards of directors to have more women on them. This was more of a distraction for anyone who follows politics closely. I could imagine what her strategists were saying. “We just cost taxpayers $675 million, but lets force more women on corporate boards so people will forget about the money we wasted”.

    Wynne also seems to forget that board members need to elected by the shareholders. They can’t show up and say “I have a vagina, vote for me”. They need to present themselves as the best candidate for represent shareholders interests. And if they can’t, then they don’t get elected that simple.

    My favorite quote is from Maureen Sabia, who is on the board of directors for the Canadian retailer Canadian Tire. She said “quotas, as far as I am concerned are insulting to women. I think feminism got hijacked by the left”.

    Or how about what the EU’s justice commissioner said. She said “regulatory pressure works. Companies are finally starting to understand if they want to remain competitive in an aging society, they cannot afford to ignore female talent. Talk about a contradiction. On one hand she says governments need to get involved, and then says that a company will be punished by the free market if they don’t have more females. Well let them suffer. It is not up to government to make companies more competitive.

    If you look at the average age of people who are on corporate boards, they average anywhere from 55 to 70. A lot of women who entered the workforce in the 1980’s and 1990’s have yet to reach that age. When they do I imagine there will be a lot more female boards of directors.

    • Thanks Matthew, very interesting. When you consider that (in the UK at least) four in seven men are ‘work-centred’ (Dr Catherine Hakim’s ‘Preference Theory’ – 2000) while only one in four British women is, two thirds of private sector employees are men, and men continue to strongly outnumber women in the senior reaches of the professions most likely to lead to board positions (notably Finance) we’d expect the boards of (say) FTSE100 companies to be 95% male. At the moment it’s 81% and declining fast (it’s set to hit 75% by 2015, as legislated gender quotas may be introduced otherwise). Poorly-qualified women are flooding onto FTSE100 boards, virtually all as non-execs. There’s a lot of material on the website of our allied organisation Campaign for Merit in Business We’ve engaged with parliamentary inquiries, and a great deal more.