The never-ending quest for evidence to support ‘improved’ gender balance in the boardroom

My thanks to Fred for pointing me to the following interesting website:
It’s the website of the ‘Professional Boards Forum’, an organisation founded and chaired by Elin Hurvenes, who set it up in 2002 in response to the Norwegian government’s legislation to increase female representation on boards. Now we all know how badly that worked out for Norwegian businesses, don’t we? So Ms Hurvenes is simply profiting from the GBITB gravy-train. Well, why not?
The website refers to six ‘captains of industry’ as ‘sponsors’: a new crop of Toadies! Well, almost. Sir Philip Hampton of RBS Group plc has already won a ‘Toady’ of course, but the other five will be receiving their awards in the post in the coming week:
Marcus Agius: Chairman, Barclays plc
Ian Powell: Chairman, PwC UK
David Tomlinson: Managing Director, UK & Ireland, Accenture
Greg Wood: Co-founder, BoardEx
Sir John Bond: Chairman, Vodafone plc
The website includes ‘recommended reading’ and it has the actual text of the impressive-sounding document ‘ICSA Guidance Note: Due Diligence for Directors’. It’s dated July 2003:
Now I worked in the British business sector for 30 years until 2010 and I’ve never heard of the ICSA. It turns out to be the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators. No, seriously, I’m not making this stuff up. Hopefully the ICSA has diversified since 2003 – diversity being a good thing, obviously – and now includes secretaries, cleaners, receptionists, administrators, telephonists, caterers and handypersons: ICSCRATCH maybe?
Last night I emailed Ms Hurvenes with the following, please email mikebuchanan@hotmail.co.uk if you’d like to join me and others in London on 9 May to greet the attendees at their next Forum. Thank you.
 Ms Hurvenes, good evening, I hope this finds you well. I note from your website that you were involved in the increase in female representation on Norwegian corporate boards in the past decade. Do you have an official response yet to the Ahern/Dittmar paper written for the University of Michigan, which outlines how damaging the initiative was for the Norwegian business sector? If so, could you possibly share it with me? Thank you.
 As the founder of the Anti-Feminism League (‘AFL’) it’s clear to me that the case for ‘improved’ gender balance in the boardroom is based upon nothing more than feminist fantasies, lies, delusions and myths. Over the past three years I’ve challenged many supporters of the initiative to provide me with evidence of their confidently-alleged causal relationship between increased female representation on boards and improved corporate performance, and none have been able to provide me with even a shred of evidence. Quelle surprise. If you have any evidence for the link, perhaps you’d be so good as to share it with me? Thank you.
I hope your Forum on 9 May goes well. I’m planning to be present at River Court with some supporters (along with some friends from the media) to greet the delegates as they go into the meeting. I note that many of those who attended your previous meetings (including those who plan to attend the River Court meeting) have been among those recently presented with ‘Toady’ awards by the AFL:
I see from your website that Sir Philip Hampton of RBS is a sponsor of your organisation too. Quite the full-time Toady, isn’t he? Isn’t it marvellous that the chairman of a taxpayer-rescued bank can find the time to pursue feminist agendas? Many billions of pounds of British taxpayers’ money have clearly being well spent rescuing this basket case of a bank. Sir Philip was a particularly worthy winner of a Toady award, which I’ve attached to this email.
I note from your website, ‘There is no real shortage of talented and experienced women in the UK who would make excellent Non-Executive Directors’. I beg to differ, but let’s move on. Why do you not even pretend to make the same claim about women who would make ‘excellent’ Executive Directors? It’s a rhetorical question, of course. The explanations for the small number of female Executive Directors in major businesses across the developed world (e.g. those in the FTSE100) are to be found in The Glass Ceiling Delusion: the real reasons more women don’t reach senior positions. Do let me know if you’d like complimentary copies of the book, for which testimonials are attached. Anyone who reads Swayne O’Pie’s Why Britain Hates Men: Exposing Feminism will also know the explanations. Along with readers of Steve Moxon’s The Woman Racket of course…
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About Mike Buchanan

I'm a men's human rights advocate, writer, and publisher. My primary focus is leading the political party I launched in 2013, Justice for Men & Boys (and the women who love them). I still work actively on two campaigns I launched in early 2012, Campaign for Merit in Business and the Anti-Feminism League. In 2014 I launched The Alternative Sexism Project, aiming to raise public understanding that the sexism faced by men and boys has far more grievous consequences than the sexism faced by women and girls.
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