Businesswoman says appointments should be based on merit, not gender

5 Mar

With many senior business figures and thought leaders supporting Lord Davies’ recommendations to boost the number of women in the boardroom, it’s perhaps no surprise that female business leaders – who have already made it to the top – are proclaiming that these proactive measures might do women a disservice.

Quoted on BBC News, Yorkshire Business Woman of the Year 2009, Julie Green-Jones, chairwoman of debt collection company Rossendales, said she would be uncomfortable if she was in the boardroom just because she’s a woman, and her colleagues would be resentful.

She said: “Cream always rises to the top so if you are good enough, you will succeed. I think gender is irrelevant – it’s whether you can do the job.”

I like her sentiment, and would love to agree with her – in theory, if not in practice. Many women’s approach to progressing  in a company is keeping her head down, getting on with the job, hoping she’ll be chosen on merit for a cherished promotion. However, real life in real companies is just not like that. With only 12.5% of board positions accounted for by women, and with a gender pay gap of 19.8%, something needs to be done.

If we all wait for our cream to rise, it may have curdled by the time we get noticed!

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