Companies should not be forced to place women in high executive/director positions in British companies, said Lord Mervyn Davies, the former trade minister. However, there should be some pressure applied to somehow raise the number of female directors.
Davies, who was asked by business secretary Vince Cable to investigate male dominance in British corporations, wrote in The Guardian newspaper that he is not convinced that quotas will raise the number of women on company boards.
This would appear to be a contradiction to his prior stance. In November, Davies had floated the idea of quotas that would require companies to have at least 40 percent of their directors female (which is the current policy in Norway).
It is believed that only 12.5 percent of the directors in the FTSE-100 companies are women.
Quotas have proved successful in some countries but many of the women I have spoken with are against these,” Davies wrote. “I have not ruled them out as a recommendation but at the moment I am not convinced that they are the right method to encourage progress. Female executives need to be recognised for the talent and skills that they possess.
Davies suggests that perhaps an academy of sorts might be formed to train female executives.
One possibility is to create a best practice code for headhunters tasked with board-level and other senior appointments; [we] also debated how to increase the transparency of board appointments made via a nomination committee, he noted.
There needs to be more pressure on companies to open up their recruitment process and to bring women up the ranks from within the business. Companies could be required to provide board internships to give senior staff the experience of what it means to be on a board.”