The Institute of Directors follows the herd

Some years ago I was a member of the Institute of Directors. If I were still a member today, I would cancel my membership after reading the following on Mail Online (my thanks to Fred for pointing me to this article):

 This weekend, Financial Mail launches the prestigious Breaking the Mould Awards in partnership with the 30% Club. The awards will celebrate those companies doing the most to create a pipeline of talented women to fill the boardrooms of tomorrow.

Lord Davies of Abersoch, after leading last year’s inquiry into boardroom diversity, recommended that at least 25 per cent of seats should be filled by women by 2015. The Government has indicated that unless this target is met voluntarily it will seek to impose quotas. At present, only 16 per cent of FTSE100 directors are women and there are concerns that there will be too few senior women to meet the Davies target.

Our Breaking the Mould Awards, to be presented next February by Theresa May, Home Secretary and Minister for Women, will recognise the companies – both large and small – doing most to encourage women. Judging will be headed by Sir Roger Carr, president of the CBI and chairman of Centrica.

Lisa Buckingham, OBE, editor of Financial Mail, said: ‘More companies seem to be trying to appoint women to the board but the talent pool is still too shallow. These awards will applaud those doing most to ensure that women reach the very highest positions in their organisations and to encourage others to follow their lead.’

Helena Morrissey, CBE, is chief executive of Newton Investment Management and founder of the 30% Club, a group committed to bringing more women into the boardroom. She said: ‘Developing the executive pipeline of female talent is one of the most important yet difficult issues to address as we work towards better gender balance at all levels of a company. While child-bearing is a key factor, it is not the only reason why women see their careers stall. Some companies have been thinking creatively about this and these awards will celebrate their achievements and showcase what works.’

The awards are being launched in association with the Institute of Directors, whose director general, Simon Walker, said: ‘We’re excited to be hosting the Breaking the Mould Awards. The country’s boardrooms would benefit from being more representative, and rewarding the great skill and performance of women in business is key in getting to that point.’ For full details about the awards and how to enter go to .

Let’s translate some of this into plain English, shall we?

‘There are concerns that there will be too few senior women to meet the Davies target.’


‘Not enough women are qualified for these boards positions and/or not enough women are interested in them.’

Why, you might reasonably ask, do women NEED to be encouraged? The answer’s simple. Far fewer women than men want senior jobs, so they need to be encouraged to seek them in order to satisfy ideologically-driven targets. Will women without the necessary ambition and/or experience for senior jobs apply for them only if they’re encouraged by the possibility of an award? And if they will, what does this say about the shallowness of these women’s motivations? This is simply a variant of the perennial argument that women need more role models. It’s been 33 years since Margaret Thatcher became prime minister. But who will be the role models’ role models? And after they land the jobs for which they’re not qualified, will these token women continue to need encouragement? Of course.

Helena Morrissey (46) says, ‘Child-bearing is a key factor…’ in the ‘pipeline problem’. The mother of nine children, she’s been the chief executive of Newton Investments for 11 years. How far would she have got without children? She was awarded a CBE in the 2012 New Year Honours list. What better illustration could we have of the feminist philosophy at the heart of the Conservative-led coalition?


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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