What’s So Important About Women Executives That Not Having Them Should Be A Crime?


It might well be desirable that women have an equal chance in this life. I tend to think so, we around here take that as a given actually. You know, given that we’re liberals. But equal opportunity and equal outcomes are not the same thing, not at all. Which is what makes this insistence about women in boardrooms so suspect:

City heavyweights have called on the next prime minister to punish companies that continue to keep women out of the boardroom. Dame Inga Beale, who was the first female boss of insurance market Lloyd’s of London and stood down last year, said the “time for action around setting targets and quotas for gender balance in senior leadership roles is here, with repercussions for those that don’t achieve it”.

She called for the Government to impose “some sort of levy for those non-compliant firms that could then be used for further research into achieving better gender balance or be used internally to fund specific programmes for female talent development”.

If a woman is bright – that should go without saying, that it is the bright people who get the top jobs – and also willing to put in those few decades of 60 hour weeks just as the men do to gain those jobs then sure, why not? Why shouldn’t there be equal numbers of people doing those top jobs?

The answer being that we’ve not got an equality of people wanting to do those preparatory decades. For the obvious reason that it is women who bear children and it tends to be women who then become the primary carer. Hey, sure, perhaps we can imagine a world where that second, the caring part, isn’t true. But people who insist we’re in that one haven’t met many human beings.

No, this doesn’t mean that a woman who goes off to work leaving the 2 month old sucking on the products of the breast pump is wrong or evil or anything. Only and just that the average, across the population, response to the having of children is different between men and women. In fact, if we note that fathers make more than non-fathers – yes, adjusting for age, education, all that – and mothers less than non-mothers we’ve now explained the entirety of that gender pay gap. There is no other reason we’ve got to look for because it all is indeed there in just those two.

So, why haven’t we got equal numbers of women execs? Because a large enough number of women think they’ve more important and interesting things to do in life than climb the greasy pole. They’re probably right too.

Hey, sexually dimorphic species and all that.

Sure, we can argue that having more diversity on that boardroom will make the company more profitable. Which then becomes an issue for the shareholders, doesn’t it? The company being run for their benefit after all. And if it really is true that companies are better when partly or equally run by women then the companies that are so will outcompete the others. 100% male companies will go the way of the dinosaurs. Actually, they should have done already given corporate turnover. They haven’t so there might be something wrong with the original assertion.

But here’s the specific question here. Fines means, obviously, that someone has done something wrong. Actually, that they’ve committed a criminal act. We’re not, as yet at least, at the point where the government can come take your money just because some pressure group doesn’t like you.

So, what’s so important about women executives that not having some should be a criminal act?