It’s appropriate that the recently-launched Women for Equality party has as its spokeswoman a comedienne, Sandi Toksvig. Predictably, it didn’t take her long to win one of our Lying Feminist of the Month awards, and we anticipate it won’t be long before she wins more of them.
My thanks to John for pointing me to this video of Sandi Toksvig in discussion with Stephen Fry at the latest Hay Festival. It will be on iPlayer for another 25 days. The section in which she misleads Stephen Fry and the audience concerns increasing the number of women in senior positions, and starts at 34:23. She defends the use of gender quotas to drive up female representation on corporate boards, claiming:
Norway did it by quotas, and that went very well for them.
It may have gone ‘very well’ for the women appointed to boards they wouldn’t otherwise have been appointed to, but what about the companies? On average, as Campaign for Merit in Business has been saying relentlessly for the past three years, longitudinal studies show that the increased female representation on boards led to corporate financial decline in Norway and elsewhere. The C4MB briefing paper on the matter is downloadable via this link.
Then Toksvig utters a statement of a type that has led to other feminists winning ‘Lying Feminists of the Month’ awards:
Every single bit of business research will show you that a business that has a board with diversity on it does better.
She is clearly misleading the audience into accepting that a causal link exists between more women on boards, and enhanced financial performance. Is she aware she’s misleading the audience, or does she genuinely believe a causal link exists, that women deliver a mysterious ‘female factor’ in the boardroom? We can be sure nobody in the BBC will ever ask the probing questions that would soon enlighten us on the matter.
Stephen Fry nods approvingly throughout this section, and generally he shows her a level of respect which is embarrassing to watch. Surely his common sense would have led him to know she was misleading the audience? Perhaps not. Judging from his utterances on QI he holds business people generally in contempt, other than those working for companies making high-tech gadgets, such as Apple.