The last few months have seen an onslaught of media frenzy centred around women, the work place and gender balance.
We’ve been bombarded by wartime-esque cries of “Help talented women to enter our boardrooms”, “Can women solve the banking crisis?” and “Women On Boards: Healthy For Boys, Girls And The Bottom Line”. As my male colleague commented only this morning, “I’m disappointed now when I don’t see a daily article calling for change”.
A few months ago I had the pleasure to assist with the launch of the 30% Club, a group of hard working, high achieving women, who decided to set an aspirational goal of 30% female representation on FTSE boards by 2015. There was no moaning or groaning, instead they just got on with the task in hand and recruited several hard hitting FTSE Chairmen to effect the change they were encouraging. One wonders why it’s taken so long when there is clear evidentiary support showing that a higher proportion of senior women within a company can significantly improves profitability (McKinsey report: Women Matter Gender Diversity, a corporate performance driver; Catalyst – Corporate performance and women’s representation on boards, 2007) – but there we are.
This is not a new issue nor does it look set to be a short lived one, however, the tone seems to have changed dramatically of late. Sentiment has shifted onto more positive terrain and there is even a hint of optimism in the air which astonishingly is being backed by real, tangible actions – something rarely seen these days. With a swathe of females being recently appointed to FTSE boards, large institutions like PWC announcing they are now actively targeting women recruits and an imminent Davies report on how Government can remove obstacles to women making it to the board – could women be the answer to the global recession?! Well it is certainly worth a shot!