The comments also do not reflect research on the issue. Increasing numbers of investors are pushing for greater gender diversity on the boards of Britain’s biggest companies, with Legal & General Investment Management saying this year it would start voting against the elections of the chairs of companies if their board membership was not at least a quarter female.
And more investment funds have joined the 30% Club, which campaigns for companies to reach the government target. Its Investor Group now wields 10.5 trillion pounds, or about $13.9 trillion, in assets under management, compared to £1.6 trillion when the group was established in 2011.
“Boards made up of just men, from the same socioeconomic backgrounds, cannot be the optimal forum for challenging debates,” said Sacha Sadan, the director of corporate governance at Legal & General.
Britain has pursued a series of measures to publicly pressure its biggest companies into doing more to improve female representation in the workplace. This year, for example, the government has required any company with more than 250 employees to publish the differences in average pay between male and female employees, with the final data showing that the vast majority of businesses paid men more than women.
Companies here have sought to address the issue with a host of methods to ensure they can attract, retain and promote women, like ensuring that the language used in job advertisements doesn’t put people off before they even apply.
One key factor causing the pay differential, however, has been a lack of women in the senior ranks at most companies.