The following are the transcripts of the first three days of the ongoing House of Commons inquiry. The first contains the transcripts of the sessions in which I gave evidence (along with Catherine Hakim, Steve Moxon and Heather McGregor), the second includes evidence from Ceri Goddard of the Fawcett Society, while the third contains evidence from Helena Morrissey (30% club) along with others. In releasing these materials, I need to make the following clear:
Any public use of, or reference to, the contents should make clear that neither witnesses nor Members have had the opportunity to correct the record. The transcript is not yet an approved formal record of these proceedings.
The first paragraph of Helena Morrissey’s testimony (below) is priceless, and hardly needs any commentary from me. I may comment on it in due course. But for the time being, I pose a simple question. How is it possible to pack so many misleading statements into just one paragraph? Inferring that correlation is evidence of causation remains a favourite tactic of proponents of ‘improved’ gender diversity in boardrooms. They are utterly shameless.
Q153 Chair: [Pleasantries excluded] Can I start with a general question? You may have followed our previous sessions. At one of them, a witness said, “When you improve gender diversity on boards, financial performance declines.” What is your experience? Helena, you are obviously keen to open on this one.
Helena Morrissey: I anticipated the question. The gentleman was alluding to one study, which was on the Norwegian experience, where quota legislation, as I am sure you are aware, was introduced so that within very short order – I think it was something like six months – listed companies had to put 40% women on their boards. The analysis showed that introducing gender equality, as it were, in that way had a negative impact in the immediate aftermath on shareholder returns. There are six widely recognised studies on experiences in countries where there is no quota: two – McKinsey and Catalyst – on the US Fortune 500; Société Générale on European countries; Citigroup on Australia, where there have a “comply or explain” model similar to our own; and two more recent ones, IRIS and Credit Suisse, on the global experience. They all usefully corroborate the positive impact of having more women or a better gender balance on boards, and they are empirical studies. I think it is a question of how you get there. It is not that women per se – obviously, I think it is counter-intuitive – detract from value to shareholders.