Women on boards – The debate is still muddled and the same voracity must now be applied to the pipeline

  • Employers must not see being on target as ‘job done’
  • We need to help talented women starting out today get to the C-Suite tomorrow
  • If we don’t achieve equality at work and at home, nothing will ever change
In response to the Hampton-Alexander Review update published today, Amanda Mackenzie, Chief Executive at Business in the Community, said:
“The debate about women on boards and the pipeline remains muddled. We can’t improve what we don’t measure and the good news is now there are more women on our boards than ever before. We must now apply the same voracity to the pipeline.  Whether it’s recruitment, appraisals, promotion or experience of a P&L, let’s be rigorous in every part of the process and help talented women starting out today get to the C-suite tomorrow. It’s not either/or, it’s both.
And let’s not leave men out of the equation. Ultimately, if we don’t achieve equality both at work and at home, nothing will ever change. Both men and women need support from their employers to share caring responsibilities.”
Chloe Chambraud, Gender Equality Director, Business in the Community, said:

“The lack of women on boards is just the tip of the iceberg and even though we have made progress, employers must not see reaching the target set by the Hampton-Alexander review as ‘job done’.
The conversation has been overly focused on the board level but should not overlook the pipeline issue. Fewer women than men are coming through to the top level of organisations because of bias, lack of access to flexible working, difficulties in balancing care and work and lack of career progression.
If employers are serious about getting more diversity at the top and want to avoid losing the talented women they have invested in, they need to set out a clear action plan to address the gap at all levels of the organisation. This includes setting public targets, closely monitoring the proportion of women, encouraging diversity in applications and introducing transparency around board appointments and progression processes.
It also means supporting women and men with caring responsibilities so that they are not forced to choose between their career and their family life. Finally, it is worth noting that board diversity is not just about gender and we need to broaden the conversation to include women from diverse backgrounds."
Business in the Community, in partnership with Santander UK, will be publishing Equal Lives in September 2018.  This major piece of research, surveying over 10,000 men and women, aims to highlight the key barriers preventing men from sharing caring responsibilities and the enablers which may support them. By addressing the root cause of inequality - the imbalance of care between men and women – employers can allow both men and women to fulfil their potential, both at home and at work.
Media contact
Katherine Howbrook, Head of Media and External communications, Business in the Community, Tel: 020 7566 8737, Mobile: 07515 119 096, Email: katherine.howbrook@bitc.org.uk