There is a type of dinosaur (male) executive who denies women are discriminated against. Who says the ‘pay gap’ is a myth. And who clearly makes pitiful excuses for not hiring female executives to the board. The recent excuses given by male executives and board members for NOT employing women to the board actually prove discrimination against women and the pay gap are very much alive. Read this jaw dropping account from US media CNN.
Among the excuses are:
- “I don’t think women fit comfortably into the board environment.”
- “There aren’t that many women with the right credentials and depth of experience to sit on the board – the issues covered are extremely complex.”
- “Most women don’t want the hassle or pressure of sitting on a board.”
- “Shareholders just aren’t interested in the make-up of the board, so why should we be?”
- “My other board colleagues wouldn’t want to appoint a woman on our board.”
- “All the ‘good’ women have already been snapped up.”
- ‘We have one woman already on the board, so we are done – it is someone else’s turn.”
- “There aren’t any vacancies at the moment – if there were I would think about appointing a woman.”
- “We need to build the pipeline from the bottom – there just aren’t enough senior women in this sector.”
- “I can’t just appoint a woman because I want to.”
If we put this into context: if we were to replace ‘women’ with ‘men’, it would be utterly unreasonable and madness. Yet these are excuses made by men – and I should mention a small proportion of men – who are sitting on boards where there is a significant amount of importance, financially, business wise and employing a lot of people. Yet they make these ridiculous comments.
So let’s take these apart.
- I don’t think women fit comfortably into the board environment. How do you know??? Have you evidence of this or is it your own personal view? Would you make a business decision in the same way? If so, are you suitable for the role?? Based on this evidence. NO.
- There aren’t that many women with the right credentials and depth of experience to sit on the board – the issues covered are extremely complex”. There are few people; male or female with the right credentials; dealing with issues that are extremely complex. I would imagine you would struggle to find many men with the right credentials. But you don’t struggle finding these men. Why not look harder?
- Most women don’t want the hassle or pressure of sitting on a board. Really? What is your evidence. Are we going back to your personal view with no evidence? Surely you realise now that your personal view is not evidence and no way to run a board. Tut Tut.
- Shareholders just aren’t interested in the make up of the board, so why should we be? Have you asked them? Have you given them the opportunity to voice their views. Ah; thought not. So this again is not evidence of this statement. Null points.
- My other board colleagues wouldn’t want to appoint a woman on our board” Why not? Have you asked them? Are you assuming? Why don’t they want a woman on the board? Is it because your incompetence as a board would be found out??
- All the good women have already been snapped up. Evidence!!!! I’m getting fed up of saying the same things. Have you looked hard enough or are you expecting far more of female candidates than male ones?
- We have one woman already on the board so we are done. It is someone else’s turn. Having a woman on the board isn’t a burden. You have women on the board because they are excellent candidates. If you have that attitude you are missing out on including excellent talent.
- There aren’t any vacancies at the moment – if there were I would think about appointing a woman. Well let’s keep in touch and when an opportunity becomes available let’s talk and I’ll recommend some excellent women. After all you want the best candidate don’t you???
- We need to build the pipeline from the bottom – there just aren’t enough senior women in this sector. Oh that old chestnut. Have you failed to promote women to senior positions in your sector because ‘There are no good women’ or perhaps they don’t want the hassle of moving to senior management due to the abuse they receive. Start checking what is really going on in your sector.
- I can’t just appoint a woman because I want to. Well you can appoint a man if you want to so what is the difference. Surely you want the best candidate for the job and shock horror, this might be a woman. If you want the best, join the 21st century and consider a woman.
So yes; these comments say more about the board members and their attitudes. Surely they are demonstrating how unsuitable they are to be on a board. It requires visionary thinking; complex thoughts and opinions not decisions based on prejudice.