Who’s sitting around your boardroom table?
- By Jack Preston -
- Oct 10, 2012
Richard Branson has spoken out in favour of government intervention in boardrooms, backing the need for legislature to be passed requiring companies to have at least 40% of their board made up of women.
“I Recently watched 12 Angry Men - that classic 1957 film about a jury struggling to decide the fate of an 18-year-old man who has been charged with murder. The movie gives you a sense of how the legal system worked in the US back then, when juries were less diverse. By today’s standards, we would find it unsettling if a jury were comprised of 12 middle-aged white men. So why have so many business leaders been slow to take notice when women are absent from the boards of their companies?” Wrote the Virgin Group Founder in his Business Day Live column.
“In most developed nations, the percentage of women in the labour force has increased dramatically since the 1950s. When 12 Angry Men was produced, less than a third of American workers were female, whereas today, the US Department of Labour says that number now stands at 47%. Despite this change, men are still much more likely than women to hold senior positions.”
“I am not usually a fan of government involvement in private industry, but on this issue it seems to be needed”
Branson cited a study commissioned by the UK government, which recommended 25% of British board members to be female by 2015, believing that the companies themselves are not moving fast enough to meet this target. “I am not usually a fan of government involvement in private industry, but on this issue it seems to be needed.”
“Fixing this injustice isn’t just good for your team: it’s good for business. Several studies have shown that gender equity in senior management and at the board level brings many tangible benefits. A report by the Credit Suisse Research Institute revealed that those firms dominated by men had recovered more slowly since the 2008 financial downturn than those with a more balanced male-female ratio.”
So what do you think should be done? Should the process be sped up with some government intervention? Or should businesses be left to dictate the makeup of their own boards – even if they may consist of 12 angry men?
Let us know below…