Helen Green

The myth of equality

In Victorian times there was a widespread belief that a woman’s brain was in danger of overheating if it was taxed too much with tasks such as learning mathematics. Thank goodness then for the pioneering women of Victorian times and since who have through their actions set out to completely debunk the myth of inequality.

Sadly, it seems as though that there is still some work to do. A government-backed report on gender balance in the boardroom has thrown up some disquieting responses. The top ten excuses for failing to improve female representation* would be laughable if they weren’t so serious.

We’ll pass swiftly over the patronising comment about the issues covered being extremely complex; and instead pause at remarks to the effect that ‘all the good women have already been snapped up’ or bemoaning the scarcity of women with the right credentials and depth of experience. What comments such as these strongly suggest is that leaders are failing in their duty to identify and train the leaders of the future. That FTSE 350 leaders feel free to make such throwaway excuses is bad enough; that they are failing in one of the basic premises of leadership, that of looking to the longevity of their organisations, is inexcusable.