A Seat On The Board?

A Seat On The Board?

A seat on the board?

If the natural progression for a manager is to become a director and, ultimately, a board member, and acknowledging the fact that a very small percentage of boardroom places in the UK are occupied by women, what are the chances of women moving into the boardroom?

The overall impression is that things have still a long way to go. Broadly speaking, the two main reasons for the lack of female representation are that men, who dominate boards, don't recruit them and that women, for various reasons, are often not available.

A universal, reflex reaction to the question: 'Why aren't there more women board members?' is �Because men recruit in their own image'. The widely-held belief is that the old boys' network and the inclination to bring in clones still prevails and, that until men are educated to understand that there is value in diversity in the direction-giving process they will continue to replicate themselves at Board level. This is tied in with the traditional male-dominated culture of organizations and, as women's presence becomes more prevalent and their abilities and talents are viewed as a threat, some men will try to prevent women taking hold rather than seeing it as an opportunity to learn different ways of operating.

Where personal recommendation to the board is still the norm, it doesn't occur to many male directors that women would be of the right caliber and, even if it does, they often don't know where to find appropriate candidates Much of this has an historical background Most executive directors come from either general management or financial backgrounds - traditionally male preserves and this is where the bulk of board members have spent their careers. Even with today's more open and professional recruitment of non-executive directors, the specifications remain conservative and tend to require executive director experience - a catch-22 situation.

Women, as already mentioned, have not in the past had the confidence to push themselves forward as forcefully as their male colleagues, and it is only in the last few years that women have begun to put their names down on registers which deal with non-executive directorships, members of public bodies and so on. There are a growing number of organizations who operate these types of registers, networks and associations, which encourage their members to use their skills and experience in this direction.

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ligaturemagazine.co.uk looks at the role women play in business in 2016 and by focusing on the past seeks to improve the prospects for all UK women in the work force. We offer women a chance to join a non profit making group of similar women to give advice and career support.