Quotas or Organic Change: Women on Bank Boards
25%? 30% What shall it be?
Corporate boards perform better when they include the best people who come from a range of perspectives and backgrounds.
The boardroom is where strategic decisions are made, governance applied and risk overseen. It is therefore imperative that boards are made up of competent high calibre individuals who together offer a mix of skills, experiences and backgrounds. Board appointments must always be made on merit, with the best qualified person getting the job.
But, given the long record of women achieving the highest qualifications and leadership positions in many walks of life, the poor representation of women on boards, relative to their male counterparts, has raised questions about whether board recruitment is in practice based on skills, experience and performance. This report presents practical recommendations to address this imbalance.
During the course of this review some people told us that the only way we could make real change in increasing the number of women on boards was by introducing quotas. They said that other routes have already been tried, but women still remain a small minority on UK boards. Many other people told us that quotas would not be their preferred option as they did not want to see tokenism prevail.
On balance the decision has been made not to recommend quotas. Government must reserve the right to introduce more prescriptive alternatives if the recommended business-led approach does not achieve significant change.