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UK — Minister wants more women in the board room

08 March 2010
 

The Equality Minister Harriet Harman wants businesses to be ordered to disclose what they are doing to improve gender equality in senior management, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Her move, which is backed by Prime Minister Brown comes on top of the controversial 'Equality Bill', which allows employers to give jobs to women in favour of men with the same qualifications.

The move is likely to be resisted by business leaders who resent further interference in the management of their businesses.

Harman said "too many British boardrooms are still no-go areas for women. Women are important consumers and employees. We will never get a proper meritocracy or truly family-friendly workplaces from male dominated boards."

The gender gap in Britain is one of the highest in Europe with men earning 21% more in gross hourly earnings than women compared with an average of 18% on the continent.

Harman went on to say "businesses that run on the basis of an old boys' network and do not draw on the talents of all the population will not be the ones that flourish and prosper in the 21st century."

Harman wants the Financial Report Council, an independent regulator of corporate governance, to require firms to report on what they are doing to get more women into their boardrooms.

Theresa May, the opposition's Secretary for Women, said "Harman should look a bit closer to home and examine the government's woeful record at getting women into senior positions in the civil service."

Staffing Industry Analysts will publish a Citation on gender equality tomorrow.

 

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