'Most women don't want the hassle': 'Pitiful' excuses for male-only boardrooms revealed

One company claimed women would not understand 'extremely complex' issues

'Most women don't want the hassle': 'Pitiful' excuses for male-only boardrooms revealed

A conference room is seen in the German city of Osterode | Image: Frank May/DPA/PA Images

Leading companies in the UK have been described as "pitiful" and "patronising", after coming up with feeble excuses to explain why they have not promoted a single woman to their corporate boards.

One company claimed that women would not understand the "extremely complex" issues covered during board meetings, while another excused its all-male leadership group by claiming that "board colleagues wouldn't want to appoint a woman".

A third said that "most women don't want the hassle or pressure of sitting on a board".

The excuses were all made to the team working for a review, which is backed by the British government and scrutinises the gender balance of boards at the top of Britain's leading companies.

It is aiming for women to hold one-third of senior positions.

Among the explanations given for not employing more women were:

  • 'I don't think women fit comfortably into the board environment'
  • 'There aren't that many women with the right credentials and depth of experience to sit on the board - the issues covered are extremely complex'
  • 'Most women don't want the hassle or pressure of sitting on a board'
  • 'Shareholders just aren't interested in the make-up of the board, so why should we be?'
  • 'My other board colleagues wouldn't want to appoint a woman on our board'
  • 'All the good women have already been snapped up'
  • 'We have one woman already on the board, so we are done - it is someone else's turn'
  • 'There aren't any vacancies at the moment - if there were I would think about appointing a woman'
  • 'We need to build the pipeline from the bottom - there just aren't enough senior women in this sector'
  • 'I can't just appoint a woman because I want to'

The latest statistics on the number of women in Britain's boardrooms will be announced at the end of June.

It follows the publication of data about the gender pay gap from more than 8,000 companies earlier this year.

The Hampton Alexander Review said: "Although gender balance on FTSE Boards has undergone a significant shift in the last five years, it is clear there is still more work to do and to sustain progress, appointing more women in leadership roles below the Board, remains the complex and longer-term challenge.

"The review will continue the voluntary business-led approach, joining all stakeholders together in action to improve the number of women on FTSE Boards and in leadership positions."