Women on boards: should it matter?

There seems to have been a surge of information about women in leadership just lately.  Either moving into – Lloyd’s new chief executive Inga Beale – or moving out of – Angela Ahrendt leaving Burberry for the top job at Apple.

But should this really still be such an issue in this day and age?


The most notable figures came earlier this year in the form of an update from Lord Davies, whose ground-breaking Women on Boards Report published in 2011 called for a target of 25% female representation on FTSE 100 boards by 2015.  Back in 2011 this stood at 12.5%, and is now 20.7%.

Progress has been made, but in Lord Davies’ own words: “This clearly isn’t gender parity but it is a strong foundation and major milestone in a longer journey.”

However, some argue that quotas are not the answer.

EEF, the manufacturing organisation, suggests instead that we nurture young talent and rid the industry of its “dirty and unglamorous” image.

Whatever your viewpoint, boardroom diversity is on the increase, positive discrimination has played a leading role, helped in part by producing reports which feed the much-debated topic of women in leadership, which can only be a good thing.

After all, as Oscar Wilde so famously noted: “…there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”