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Sex and the state-controlled banks

Robert Peston | 00:00 UK time, Monday, 8 March 2010

The prime minister has chosen today's International Women's Day to argue that there's a strong case for obliging private-sector companies to report annually on the progress they're making in promoting women to senior executive and non-executive position.

It is certainly striking how few women are on the boards of the FTSE 100: just one-in-ten board directors are female; which means that companies with as many as two women directors are the exception.

And, of course, female chairs and chief executives are harder to find than even women editors of newspapers or broadcasting "on-air" editors who aren't men (that's a big hello from me).

Now there is a case - which I put last July before it became fashionable to do so (see my note "Why men are to blame for the crunch") - that the absence of women from the top of banks and financial companies meant that the atmosphere of board rooms during the bubble years was heavy with testosterone; and the consequence was a culture of dangerous risk-taking in the macho pursuit of short-term profits and bonuses.

You may dispute that. But even if you do, you surely can't believe that entrepreneurial, wealth creating talents reside exclusively in the Y chromosome. So the dearth of women at the top must surely be depriving the UK of incremental income at a time when we need every penny we can squeeze to pay our way in the world.

But if companies will be forced to produce a report card on their efforts to make their senior management team look a bit more - in a gender sense - like the world rather than a dusty gentlemen's club, it's perfectly reasonable to examine Gordon Brown's record.

I don't mean in respect of the civil service or the cabinet, although both areas of government remain a long way from gender equality.

So if for example you look at the senior positions in the Department for Innovation and Skills, which is co-sponsoring today's "business must be less sexist" initiative, the secretary of state is a man, the permanent secretary is a man, there is one female minister out of ten, and there are just two women among the 11 most senior officials.

BIS's annual report card on promoting women might say "must try harder".

And, before you attempt to turn the tables back on me and the BBC, I should point out that almost all the senior management posts in the bit of the BBC where I work, BBC News, are filled by women - including the top job, Head of News, held by Helen Boaden (who - oh yes - reports to two men, the deputy director general and the director general).

However I'm more interested in how the government has exercised its clout over those bits of the private sector where it can more-or-less instruct boards to do as it says: I'm talking about the government's gender record as 100% owner of Northern Rock, 84% owner of Royal Bank of Scotland and 41% owner of Lloyds.

All of these organisations have seen the departure of their chairmen and many board members since the state took its big ownership stakes in them as part of rescuing them from collapse.

So are these three nationalised or semi-nationalised banks now run by a new generation of female bankers? Are there more women on their boards than at comparable businesses?

No and no.

The new chief executives at the Rock and RBS: men. The new chairs of the Rock, RBS and Lloyds: men. The vast majority of board members of all three organisations: men.

All three banks are playgrounds for ageing white men just like me and the prime minister. The Rock has one woman on a board of eight. RBS has one woman on a board of 12. Lloyds has one woman on a board of 14.

Which is why there are some who are bound to argue that Gordon Brown should get the gender mix in order in his own house, before preaching to the rest of the private sector.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    If we want an equal society, that means we pick the best person for the job - gender doesn't come into the equation

  • Comment number 2.

    Until we can abolish the unpaid overtime everyone in managerial jobs appear forced to do (or chose to do to gain a competitive edge) and to also share child care with male partners equally, such that child birth is not a career limiting choice, then eveyone irrespective of gender could compete equally.

    Having said that, if we achieved that utopia then we would be undercut by other countries and lose even more jobs overseas...

    I've never understood the strive for equality in business, when its central tenet is to make a profit, which is achieved in large companies by a survival of the fittest/achievement of the best. The problem it seems to me is that to get to the top, you need to have got through several layers of lower and middle management all of which need long hours, a myopic view of target driven performance and pleasing of the upper echelons, which is achieved by mimicking the bosses more often than not. All of this means a majority of woman and a lot of men give up and realise there is more things in life than this.

  • Comment number 3.

    In male dominated environments it's rare that women will climb to the higher echelons though it's not impossible.

    Women have to change male perceptions of their capacity to be businesswomen and probably the best way is to have millions of women go out and set up their own successful businesses.

    Though too it is desireable to have more women in senior positions in government,the dominance of constituency parties by men make that a very difficult task particular as some men are prejudiced against female candidates.

    To circumvent this, groups of women need to get together and create a machinery by which independent female candidates can be offered into the political arena.Such candidates need to market candidates well to mobilise female voters and women generally need to become involved in politics at various levels.

    Though women may well have lots of male supporters it's up to women to lead the way and demonstrate that they can and will play a major role in the political life of this country.

  • Comment number 4.

    Not quite sure that HP takeover of Compaq and Kraft takeover of Cadbury are shining examples of female CEO's abilities

  • Comment number 5.

    It's already happening that woman with less experience are getting the prime managerial and team leader positions in banks.

  • Comment number 6.

    Why can't they just leave businesses alone?
    The more they meddle the worse things get.

  • Comment number 7.


    No-one can, or should, argue against gender-equality. But it is long jump from the observed fact that relatively few women are in top jobs in business to the conclusion that our economy is losing out as a result.

    To reach that conclusion you have to assume that the person currently occupying the job is underperforming relative to the potential replacement: and that a woman put into the job could (and would) do better: and for that to have any economic effect "better" in this context has to mean "deliver more profit".

    This is far from a given: not least because most senior managers (regardless of gender) are contributing little more than to keep the wheels turning. People (male or female) who actually innovate and deliver real growth are very rare: and are not necessarily managers.

    The ability to climb the corporate ladder rarely turns on these skills. It is more about the ability to ingratiate yourself with your superiors; and climb on the backs of your staff; and stab colleagues in the back when the time comes. If women do not have these skills o the same extent as their testosterone fueled rivals it is to their credit!

  • Comment number 8.

    Perhaps the stereotypes are true - if women benefit from being able to multitask, surely it is also a benefit that we have single minded men. There will always be exceptions but business needs to draw on the best from all their leaders.

  • Comment number 9.

    It is interesting that the rise in credit in the last century correlates closely with the number of women going out to work.

  • Comment number 10.

    Gender is a red herring here. The issue is the qualities which firms seek out when hiring: such as aggression, appetite for risk, and mild sociopathy - which are more prevalent in males.

    Had the banks been forced to hire more females they would have gone for the small subset of women with those traits, rather than the slightly larger subset of men with those traits.

    If you want to change the characteristics of decision-makers, target the way desirable characteristics are selected, rather than a lazy proxy for those characteristics. Don't forget there were many non-Alpha, testosterone-fuelled males who were passed over for City/board-level jobs, as well as women.

  • Comment number 11.

    #1. ketchup wrote:

    "If we want an equal society, that means we pick the best person for the job - gender doesn't come into the equation"

    There are so many things wrong with the above statement- although it seems superficially quite sensible.

    Let me look at just one "best person" - who defines 'best'? Best is often used to mean the one that fits in best or will cause the least trouble by not disturbing the status-quo. These are of course quite good reasons to pick a candidate, but they are not to do with being intrinsically 'better' at doing the job. This is the age only argument often used to keep people who are not one of us from being promoted even though in other ways they could do the job equally well. Using such value laden judgements as a reason to discriminate is however wrong.

    There are also, for example, 50 or 60 million in the country that 'know' that they could do a better job at being leader of the Labour or Tory parties as is evidence by discussion in every pub in the land every night - who is to say they are wrong? I do not think that it is possible to say that picking post holders with disregard to gender balance is the right way to go. I have always believed that it is in fact more important to encourage my female staff to get professional qualifications as they may well need to take career breaks to have children and having a formal professional qualification gives them an edge to regain suitable employment afterwards. Am I 'guilty' of positive discrimination? And have I been wrong to do so?

  • Comment number 12.

    #9. bill wrote:

    "It is interesting that the rise in credit in the last century correlates closely with the number of women going out to work."

    Mortgage slaves....

  • Comment number 13.

    Women are less greedy, and so are more suitable for making judgements that affect society (with the obvious exception of Mrs Thatcher).

    Men are better at fighting and mending cars etc. (with the obvious exception of bankers, who can't do anything properly).

  • Comment number 14.

    Can someone explain to me why in these days of so called equality why it is that the governments seem so hell bent on forcing businesses, both private and public to employ a set percentage of women. It is exactly the same as the rules regulating the amount of ethnic "minorities" in the police force. Why? Surely the question should really be have you got the "BEST" person for the job available at the time the job was "publicly advertised". As long as that one criteria is met then it should not matter what sex or colour the person is and as for pay surely it is up to the individual to negotiate their own pay not for someone else to meddle with. As an ex REME soldier I saw the dissarray when women were first allowed to be mechanics, nothing wrong with that as long as they can pick up their own toolbox and carry it a couple of hundred metres then lift it onto an armoured vehicle. Quite a few could do this but there were quite a few who couldn't / wouldn't and were quite willing to let a male colleague do this for them, they still got the same pay though. This is I know showing the equal pay in a bad light but it is true. The facts are some PEOPLE are not capable of doing the same job as others and this in itself should be enough to disclude them from the position. The public services are full of people that were they to try and make it in the private sector would find themselves in a much lesser position of authority and earning potential with less pension/health benefits than they currently enjoy, unfortunately we try nowadays to lower the cream to the milk not raise the milk to the cream. This is the society we have created.

  • Comment number 15.

    So what! Of course the whole club is overwhelmingly male and has been ever since the dawn of capitalism. Surely it is not suggested that an influx of business women will bring a mumsey earth mother style to banking. However it might be instructive to trace how women and men are admitted to(or more to the point excluded from)the club and whether (unlikely) this process is solely based on merit.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    No mention of the obvious subject that needs tobe looked at. How many women apply for top jobs? Until we can answer this question there's no case to say any sexism is taking place!

  • Comment number 18.

    #11. John_from_Hendon

    I didn't say best person that fits in, or best person not to cause trouble. I said best person for the job, that is, the person who can perform better than anyone else at a given task.

    Of course soft skills play a role in deciding, but if you're looking for a programmer you often want the best coder. If you're looking for a new CEO, you generally want the person who would provide the biggest sustainable growth.

  • Comment number 19.

    #2 spot on.

    Of course the current govt does not care for equality what matters is the appearance of equality. So it is unfair to discriminate, unless in favour of women, it is wrong to discriminate on religious grounds but this govt will decide what is a "proper" religion and what is frivolous and you can discriminate against the frivolous. And my favourite one rule for us, another for MPs - I cannot advertise for a women only shortlist for a job they can have women only shortlist for MPs.

    I work in law. Latest proposals are that all law firms must monitor and "do more" to attract ethnic minority trainees (women are already the majority of trainees). I have been involved in interviewing for trainees for nearly 15 years at major law firms and the ethnicity of a candidate has never come into the equation - why should it, our clients are international and could be from any ethnicity, we only look for the best, the brightest, the hardest working - ethnic background is totally irrelevant.

  • Comment number 20.

    I didnt think I would ever see the word sex and bank in the same headline. Cunning way to get people to read another banking piece.

  • Comment number 21.

    "...that the absence of women from the top of banks and financial companies meant that the atmosphere of board rooms during the bubble years was heavy with testosterone; and the consequence was a culture of dangerous risk-taking in the macho pursuit of short-term profits and bonuses."

    Well, this paragraph in itself explains it doesn't it? You don't get to be the head of a company without being a risk taker. Men take more risks, therefore more men are heads of companies. Of course, more men fail miserably because of taking a risk, so maybe we should look at the number of bankruptcies and how many of them are male.

    I never understood these sex-based arguments: if women were in charge of companies then they would take fewer risks. Sure. Would that mean they were better companies? Maybe. Would that mean they were smaller companies? Definitely. And they'd be bought out or clobbered by risk-taking male-headed companies, and we are back to square one.

    If you want to change the concept of risk, you would need a completely different society of capitalism. I'm not saying that capitalism is great, but you cannot succeed in capitalism without being a risk taker, and consequently women miss out.

  • Comment number 22.

    1. At 01:19am on 08 Mar 2010, ketchup wrote:

    "If we want an equal society, that means we pick the best person for the job - gender doesn't come into the equation"

    I completely agree - and considering men are far more likely to get over confident about their ability quite quickly - and they are much more likely to make reckless gambles.....I wonder why there is such a male domination in the banking world?

    It's clear that the 'best people for the job' are still employed by the banking sector - despite proving categorically they weren't the best by failing dismally.

    It seems good old sexual discrimination is still a major part of the city of Londond's tradition - I mean it is an old boys network and not and old girls one.

    Despite being a man - it's abundantly clear that too many men are given work on the basis they are confident that they can do the job and interview well. Whether they can do the job or not is an entirely different matter.

    The underlying discrimination against women is not helped by so many of them who work in the city dressing like their going clubbing - a result of their inability to get somewhere in the male dominated world due to the underlying predjudice.

    If you met some of the men I do at work - then you would not be surprised how arrogance was a prime contributer to the economic failures in banking.

  • Comment number 23.

    "The prime minister has chosen today's International Women's Day to argue that there's a strong case for obliging private-sector companies to report annually on the progress they're making in promoting women to senior executive and non-executive position."
    Nice bit of work from GB there. Instead of letting them get on with business and cutting their beuracracy, he's still letting them waste time with frivolous reports on whether women are on the board or not.
    How about just letting them get on with hiring who they want and making money?
    Employment should be based on merit, not on gender TARGETS.

  • Comment number 24.

    They should set targets for the number of babies born to company directors.

  • Comment number 25.

    Robert,

    As business editor - would you like to comment on the fact that "all trust, honour and nobility has evaporated in business"?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8555010.stm

    Bournville used to smell of sweet chocolate - now it only smells of rancid processed cheese....

  • Comment number 26.

    21. At 10:29am on 08 Mar 2010, DavCrav wrote:

    "I'm not saying that capitalism is great, but you cannot succeed in capitalism without being a risk taker, and consequently women miss out."

    Oh your definitely not saying it's great - in fact you're saying it's a gamblers paradise

    ...which is why it will fail - as all gamblers eventually do....

  • Comment number 27.

    I can't believe we got as far as post 13 before Mrs Thatcher came up.

    Post 4 makes the very valid points re women CEO's at both HP and Kraft. Let us just nail this once and for all women have as much ability to mess things up as men.

    There is a generational thing at play here. There are very few women at the very top as most of these roles are taken by people in the 50 to 65 year age group and yes the workplace and finance in particular was a particularly sexist place in the past.

    However is you look at the number of female managers and senior managers in the 35 to 50 year age group the representation is much higher. Sexual equality won't be achieved overnight and it certainly wont be achieved if some politicians keep jumping in without thinking things through.

    Yes Mrs Dromey (nee Harmann) I mean you.

    Sadly what is an important point that needs raising has been highjacked by the current PM who seems to be like a weather vane moving whichever way the wind blows on a particular day and never staying on a single point long enough to do something about the root cause of the problems he skates over.

  • Comment number 28.

    # 9. At 08:32am on 08 Mar 2010, bill wrote:

    > It is interesting that the rise in credit in the last century
    > correlates closely with the number of women going out to work.

    Yes, but wait a minute ... the dramatic decline in the sparrow
    population also correlates closely with the number of women going
    out to work. Could it be that housewives aren't throwing out enough
    stale bread?

  • Comment number 29.

    Robert,

    I don't see how it is possible to preach equality whilst practicing sexual discrimination.


    PS Glad the moderation pace has picked up a bit.

  • Comment number 30.

    The City is hostile to women, but nevertheless there are women working there. Is there any evidence that these women are more risk adverse than the men? Unless this is so, there can be no serious expectation that putting more women in senior positions is going to lead to more responsible behaviour by the City. The only real answer is tighter regulation.

  • Comment number 31.

    Oh, don't worry about gendre equality, Preston. Sonn there will be NO BOYS! Sexless society is coming!

    Ever heard about GENDER-BENDING chemicals? Well, you do now!

    Why boys are turning into girls
    The results build on earlier studies showing that British children have higher levels of gender-bending chemicals in their blood than their parents or grandparents.

    Yet gender-benders are largely exempt from new EU regulations controlling hazardous chemicals. Britain, then under Tony Blair's premiership, was largely responsible for this – restricting their inclusion in the first draft of the legislation, and then causing even what was included to be watered down.Confidential documents show that it did so after pressure from George W Bush's administration, which protested that US exports "could be impacted".

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthcomment/geoffrey-lean/6418553/Why-boys-are-turning-into-girls.html

  • Comment number 32.

    Quite right.

    And could you take a look, please, at the rest of the money changers - how many women directors at Barclays/Barcap, how many women partners at G(V)S (the giant vampire squid), how may at Citi, how many at UBS, how many at ICAP, how many at Morgan Stanley.....

    I think Richard Branson has got the right idea - if I'm not completely mistaken the person who is heading up his foray into banking is a woman.

    I think we all know by now that Gordon Brown has many problems in the way he operates as a 'manager', and this is certainly one of them.

  • Comment number 33.

    # At 02:44am on 08 Mar 2010, Ojgy wrote:

    > I've never understood the strive for equality in business, when its central tenet
    > is to make a profit, which is achieved in large companies by a survival of
    > the fittest/achievement of the best.

    That was the way of doing things. Now society demands that it is top priority, not the business itself. Most people don't give a hoot about whether the business does well, apart from the people who work for it. Our expectation is for business to serve us, not the other way round. The interests of the business are a side concern. Any business that operates against the general interests is a liability that is best shut down.

    Men have shown over and over again that they are prone to destroy the host that they depend on for their own survival. A more global view is now required, where business is conducted in a civilised and rational manner coincident with all our interests. The human race must learn to share, or it will surely die out. These changes in attitude absolutely vital, not cosmetic.

  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 35.

    16. At 09:38am on 08 Mar 2010, Jacques Cartier wrote:
    If blokes want to run a business, they should have chemical castration first.
    -----------------

    This statement is, of course, rubbish but funnily enough it's already a reality. Read my post #31 or click on this link
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthcomment/geoffrey-lean/6418553/Why-boys-are-turning-into-girls.html

  • Comment number 36.

    How much of this is about gender and how much is about "class" and the old school tie?

    "Its not what you know, its who you know" still applies for a lot of top jobs, and getting into the club can be nigh on impossible for anyone deemed as not "fitting".
    A lot of directors don't need to be that bright, or even that good, provided they have the right contacts to be able to keep other members of the club sufficiently onside.

  • Comment number 37.

    Sex and (b)anking?

    How novel

    In support of GC

  • Comment number 38.

    Sorry Moderators - my post @25 was about business - is this not the forum for business stories?

    Are we now a banking only blog?

    The endless weight of stories on banking and finance by the BBC seems to fuel the belief that 'banking is essential to our lives'

    .....is that the intention of the Beeb?

  • Comment number 39.

    Lets assume people reach the top jobs at the end of their career (55+) ignoring the fact that women retire at 60 and men at 65 (meaning you would logically hire a man as you would get 10 years work from him rather than 5).

    If you're 55 now you would have left University 35 years ago in about 1975, or finished your O-levels in about 1970. (which was roughly when my mum finished school).
    Back then women had about 3 choices, marry and have kids, work in a shop / restaurant, or be a secretary. The idea of going into business as a career wasn't thought of, University wasn't an option.
    This didn't change for the majority until the mid 80's-early 90's.

    So statistically you won't see an equal match of male/females in top jobs until 2025 at least because the numbers of women entering the career ladder didn't happen.
    It's a time lag event, and there is nothing (apart from sexually discriminating employment laws) that can change it.

    (and this is still ignoring women taking career breaks for maternity and the huge amounts of overtime males do compared to females)

  • Comment number 40.

    If we must discuss banking again - could Robert perhaps investigate why Goldman Sachs are still operating freely and are not already shut down?

    Unbeknown to many people, GS have been playing the sort of game with the Greeks for years.

    In 1998 LTCM were in trouble - GS promised to help out if they could see the books and positions. They then used this information (legally acceptable, but not morally) to play both sides of the trades

    This essentially helped pull LTCM down and helped GS make profits during a decline.

    ....just like they did with greece.

    I'm not defending the LTCM madness - but it seems wherever there is a stricken ship - Goldman are there first with their offers of lifeboats - which it turns out - take you straight to the next sinking ship - and charge you for the ride!

    It's time these morally bankrupt parasites were stopped.

  • Comment number 41.

    I want the best people in each job.

    I don't care what gender they are, nor what colour their hide is, or which deity (if any) they worship, or who they prefer to become intimate with or any other such trivia.

    If you actually want equality - rather than pursuing a sexist or racist agenda - you'd agree. Asking a company to specify how many 'anythings' sit on their board is opening the door to pushing the less talented ahead because they use the correct rest room or whatever, and that is as unacceptable as any other form of discrimination.

  • Comment number 42.

    The concept of reporting on Women in high places is sexist in itself.

    Are all women the same? Are all men the same?
    Are all men better than women? Are all women better than men?

    The answer to all these questions is no.

    Do a majority of women give birth? Yes
    Do all women give birth? No

    Are employees required to treat women and men equally? Yes

    Are some PEOPLE better than others? YES

    Some PEOPLE are better at looking after children
    Some PEOPLE are better at working 12 hours a day
    Some PEOPLE are better at clerical jobs
    Some PEOPLE are better at manual jobs

    As an employer in an interview I try and assess the people that apply and decide which person is going to do the best job for me.

    Promotion works the same.

    However if a person leaves work for 12 months to either look after a child or travel round the world then that shows less commitment to the job I am paying them to do and therefore that person either drops down the list for likely promotion or needs to be extra special and better than the next best person.

    I do not think any of the above is unfair - just practical.

  • Comment number 43.

    RP, unfortunately the problem is much worse. Of the women promoted to senior executive and non-executive position a very high percentage is due to neopotism, being headhunted by people who are known to them by family or school contacts.

    Not being obsesed with banks i will highlight that the problem is with virtually all large companies. What need to be addressed is:

    1) female traits are appreciated, compassion, desire to nurture ,non competitativeness within the unit, desire for longevity and stability should be seen as strengths not weeknesses. Too often in business women need to prove they can be like a sterotype of men to succees

    2) Informal company structures need to be abolished, the idea that companies are run on the golf course or at the pub ostrasises woman who have a "traditional" mothers role in the family unit.

    3) Although sexism is probably the oldest and most ingrained prejudice, all disrimination has to be addressed, it would be a nonsense to say sexism is being addressed while a blind eye is turned to racism, social group etc

  • Comment number 44.

    # 43

    Ps forgot ageism too!

  • Comment number 45.

    # 42 Grimupnorth.

    Sorry, ususally agree with you but hope you see it as just giving a different view in this instance. I agree statistics which aim to give a advantage to one sex over the other for promotion is indeed sexist. I would also have to admit that wanting a break from work does play a part in some womens / family decision to have children

    where i disagree is that many women are capable of balancing maternal and family instincts and being totally commited and beneficial at work, irrespective if they take full maternity leave or cannot commit to 12 hour days.

  • Comment number 46.

    I only make love to women
    I only find women attractive

    Women have forward tees at golf and are able to have higher handicaps.
    Women have separate competitions in most sports (I am unable to think of a sport where the best women could compete with the best men - jockeys, three day eventing and show jumping are the closest I can think of)

    Only women can give birth
    Only women can breast feed

    Why are all the above true? Because men and women are different - the best woman may be better than the worst man at tennis (as once famously proved by Billie Jean King) but when it comes to breast feeding no man can match a woman

    To not recognise that men and women are different is impossible and yet this is the very foundation of sexism

    Surely better to educate that banking is closer to breast feeding than tennis and that women should get a fair chance.

  • Comment number 47.

    My #46 is not a response to your #45.

    The point I was trying to make was that if I have two people doing a similar job and one leaves for twelve months (for either of the reasons I gave) then the person who stays is likely to be held in higher regard when I come to promote on of them for the person who stays is likely to also have to work harder while the other is away.

    The one who goes away will also lose continuity with customers, suppliers etc.

    If the person who goes away for twelve months is actually better than the one who stays then this would be different.

    Of course the reality is that the kind of twelve month break I refer to occurs more with women having babies than men.

    Perhaps with our unemployment problems we could pass legislation that both the man and woman had to take child leave of twelve months when their child was born and this would provide both a more stable platform for the future and also level the playing field?

  • Comment number 48.

    I'm with GRIM on this one. Most of the rest is patronising BS.

    Let move on to banking. I've been trying to find out how much the investments banks get for shifting our govt gilts.

    I noticed in the FT at the weekend that Man U declared £15 million in fees to banks for getting their £507 million bond accepted.
    Do the maths on the fees £220 billion of gilts and I think we have the main source of the banks profits and dividends for the year.

  • Comment number 49.

    # 46 #47 Grimupnorth77

    thanks for clarifying this. we remain not too disimilar minded after all!

  • Comment number 50.

    Another hair brained scheme thought out by a person who is out of his depth. The only way forward is for the best person for the job be allowed to have it irrespective of gender etc. I have seen at first hand how some high flyer has come into an area without the slightest knowledge of what they should be doing and the subsequent effect it has on the rest of the office. Did we not learn this during the Blair babes years? the fallout being Harriot Harman who has no idea of what she is doing in relation o the real world.

  • Comment number 51.

    @GRIMUPNORTH77

    Of course, men and women are different and bring different skills to an organisation. Your presumption is that an organisation is better because it is made up of the 'best' people. However, these people may not be the best. If someone is hiring and has the same assumptions as you, then they are unlikely to select a woman for the role; but a woman might bring skills the hirers don't consider important (because they are prejudiced).

    Another assumption that is almost certainly wrong is that people work better and are more committed if they are working 12, 14 or 18 hour days. It is much more likely that such people are making bad decisions, can't time-keep properly and refuse to delegate. Such people are usually also on ego trips: 'I'm so important I have to work such long hours'. They also tend to be very aggressive and territorial (in my experience). These are not behaviours that are good for an organisation as a whole.

    How such behaviour is judged within an organisation is set by the top. If the top is full of people who think like that, then it is likely to hire people who behave like that. However, if an organisation were better balanced and had a progressive attitude to work-life balance, it would probably hire more women, including to the top.

    Let us not pretend that business is efficient and that's why it behaves as it does. If business were efficient, there would be no need for management consultants.

  • Comment number 52.

    If women are not given the change how will we know they are not goo at the job.
    To follow on some men who do not have a public school education could be good at being a banker.
    I don't think to force issues of gender, race, religion, education, will do any business to much good. Is the best way forward to employ talented and quality workers?

  • Comment number 53.

    GRIMUPNORTH77

    ....but isn't the point here about the banking industry?

    On the one hand you have the proven failures - a male dominated industry which ultimately took us to the brink of destruction.

    versus the unproven femme - who as yet hasn't broken any banking system due to the inherent sexism within the industry.

    It seems to me when your first choice has already shown their talents at abject idiocy and failure - then it's time for the other choice to take control.
    Maybe it's because when the ladies are put in charge they might not feel so comfortable about being parasitical barnacles on the backside of the working man - and then banking would collapse as that's all it's based on!

  • Comment number 54.

    #48. At 12:58pm on 08 Mar 2010, Alesha Soba wrote:

    “I'm with GRIM on this one.”

    Me too.

    “I noticed in the FT at the weekend that Man U declared £15 million in fees to banks for getting their £507 million bond accepted.
    Do the maths on the fees £220 billion of gilts and I think we have the main source of the banks profits and dividends for the year.”

    I think these two systems work differently. In the Manchester United case, the banks underwrote the issue (i.e. they had to buy all the bonds, irrespective of whether or not they could sell them on). The fee they were paid was for the underwriting (taking the risk that they couldn’t shift the bonds). Whether this fee was reasonable is another question.

    In the gilts case, the government’s debt management office auctions the bonds – they aren’t underwritten by anyone, so if no one wants them, they don’t get sold. This means that banks that buy gilts on auction don’t get an underwriting fee.

  • Comment number 55.

    'And, before you attempt to turn the tables back on me and the BBC, I should point out that almost all the senior management posts in the bit of the BBC where I work, BBC News, are filled by women - including the top job, Head of News, held by Helen Boaden'

    It's OK for the BBC to be driven by politically correct targets because it doesn't have to compete. For businesses operating in the real world they need to recruit and promote based on ability rather than filling quotas. If this means 90% of top jobs are held by men (or the other way around) then so be it.

  • Comment number 56.

    The best person for the job has to be the answer as the USA found out when they followed the Harperson type equality agenda.

    And anyway how can we believe politicians like Harperson who regularly ignore their so-called convictions when it affects them personally?



  • Comment number 57.

    Can we consider who may be the "best person" to take over this blog and possibly being Business Editor for the BBC?

    Perhaps she would be more inclined to address a broader spectrum of general business issues and be less personally obsessed (for whatever reason) by banks...

  • Comment number 58.

    #53 - I'm tired of banking - I've said all I have to say on lots of different occasions.

    I know your views on banking and I agree with them - unless we are going to start a revolution there is nothing left to say.

    The system is wrong.
    The profits are wrong.
    The pay is wrong.
    The people are wrong.
    The concentration of wealth in the City is wrong.
    The political involvement is wrong.
    The post political banking board jobs are wrong.

    There are too many blogs about banking when manufacturing and the wider future of the country is what should be being blogged about - banking will not save us, most posters also agree this point and have done for the last 365 days on countless Peston blogs.

    Perhaps women in business can save us and I'm happy to blog and discuss this and that's what I was doing.

    But banking - no more.

  • Comment number 59.

    #42 "if a person leaves work for 12 months to either look after a child or travel round the world then that shows less commitment ... and therefore that person ... drops down the list for likely promotion"
    Intuitively correct but as it happens probably illegal - employers are advised (at least, we are) that mothers must not be disadvantaged by having taken maternity leave and so passing someone over for promotion bacause they have had parental leave is a no-no. Your round-the-world traveller, however, does indeed get passed over (unless they have gained useful life experience on their travels!)
    Employment law is a minefield for all employers, nowhere more so than affecting maternity/paternity pay and leave. Most of us try our best...

  • Comment number 60.

    #51 - I do not disagree with anytihng you say and strongly agree with your middle paragraph.

    However I challenge you to come up with a solution to the problem you raise in the last sentence of your first paragraph which is the nub of the problem.

    'If someone is hiring and has the same assumptions as you, then they are unlikely to select a woman for the role; but a woman might bring skills the hirers don't consider important (because they are prejudiced).'

    A woman 'might' bring skills? So who decides if it is not the hirer? Or is it correct that the employment world should become anti men because women 'might' have the answer?

    I'm not saying what you say is wrong and I have very high regard for women at work but how do you legislate/deal with the problem you highlight?

  • Comment number 61.

    Spinmeister Gordo is jumping on another bandwagon to stick one of his initiatives on - Women in high places.

    That's all it is. Gordo trying to look as if he is embracing the ethos.

    It would be better if he were to look at his own cabinet and advisors, and to the various quangoes set up by Labour and all other public sector jobs to see that opportunity is available to all and women are paid the same as men for the same job done.

    Diversionary tactics to take away from the press coverage of the flatlining of local authority pay together with the threat of public unrest because of pay freezes.

    Oooh! He'll be out saying that there should be a woman DG at the IoD and CBI next - what will he think of!?

  • Comment number 62.

    Why doesn't Gordon emplain why 75% of the public sector, yes 75%, are held by women (I did have to double check this, although i double checked three times) and we all know what happens in the public sector.

    I would like to be a 'man' for a change and say that if we men sat back and left it all to women, they would still be bashing rocks together trying to make fire.

  • Comment number 63.

    Robert,

    'And, before you attempt to turn the tables back on me and the BBC, I should point out that almost all the senior management posts in the bit of the BBC where I work, BBC News, are filled by women - including the top job, Head of News, held by Helen Boaden'

    I remember John Humphries having a rant about this at the time...

    Something about a strange coincidence with the decline of sport on the BBC and the increase in women in the top ranks....

    I agree with #55, the BBC doesn't need a ruthless competitive streak required to compete for funds when they are state guaranteed?

  • Comment number 64.

    Perhaps there is too much emphasis being placed on women getting into the top jobs.

    I'm sure if they are career minded enough and have the talent they will get there anyway.

    More women prefer balance in their lives. A life where they can see their children and which has quality and flexiblity.

    There are many women who have started successful businesses whilst bringing up children. The best time to think and plan and experiment without the distraction of trying to balance a full time job and bringing up a family.

    Others have been the 'woman behind the man' and have been happy to be in a supportive role while he had to put in the hours and she was able to pursue her own interests on a more flexible basis. The present PM's wife is a prime example.

    I think many of us women are sick and tired of being put into 'tick boxes'. Perhaps many will take up successful careers in later life rather than burn themselves out early by trying to do everything all at the same time. Someone told me she knew she only had a short shelf life left in her sales job of another year at the most. She is only 43.

    Perhaps it is the age thing we should be talking about and not the gender.

    Although I certainly agree with equal pay for the same job it is sometimes difficult to decide where the equality begins and ends.

    At the end of the day a company is only as successful as the person who drives from the top whether it is male or female. That person should only be appointed on merit and past record of achievement.

    Ww see the dreadful outcomes in some of our public services where this has not been the case.

  • Comment number 65.

    Oooh! Robert - Gordon Broon can prove his credentials by reversing the decision to bypass an all women shortlist and fast track Mr Dromey to a safe Labour seat as a candidate.

    Scenario runs thus:

    Broon broodily reads papers.
    Notices that Dromey has been parachuted in to the detriment of the all-women shortlist.
    Gets up from his chair exclaiming: "Gadzoooks! Some bounder has bypassed my all women short list"
    Trembling PPS says: "What would you like us to do, Prime Minister?"
    Thumping the desk, the great clunking fist, says; "Keep it quiet until after International Women's Day, or lend him some cross dressing clothes, for the duration."

  • Comment number 66.

    Isn't this quibbling over Deck Chairs whilst the whole ship is sinking ?

    Sure, lets have more Women in positions of responsibility.

    Now, how is the Britsih Economy going to be Resurrected ?

    The British people need jobs, decent training, factories for exports, decent housing, the list goes on, wouldn't any of those make a good Blog topic ?

    Why not start a How to Rebuild Britain blog and see if any good ideas come up?

    And then what about the swindled B&B Shareholders and PIBs holders ?
    That would be an interesting Blog.

    Nearly Spring (don't want people to think we've got Global Boring I mean Warming).

  • Comment number 67.

    @51 Rhys Parsons made a point I've been making for years. What is it about working long hours that is equated with 'working hard'?

    I teach students the art of intense concentration and how to focus on the thing that they are doing NOW to the exclusion of all else. Once they've mastered that, they can get through the work they need to do AND have time for those other activities that make them a rounded person.

    Anyone whose claim to be a 'hard worker' is based on how much time they spend doing their work is either woefully inefficient, takes on too much and/or hasn't learned to delegate properly.

  • Comment number 68.

    #59 - definitely illegal and something I have never been in a position to do - however definitely happens because how can you prove if two people apply that one has been disadvantaged provided the 'hirer' has good interview notes??

  • Comment number 69.

    51. At 1:18pm on 08 Mar 2010, Rhys Parsons wrote:

    "Such people are usually also on ego trips: 'I'm so important I have to work such long hours'."

    ...the bankers motto...

  • Comment number 70.

    58. At 1:56pm on 08 Mar 2010, GRIMUPNORTH77 wrote:

    "I know your views on banking and I agree with them - unless we are going to start a revolution there is nothing left to say."

    ....well what are we all waiting for? Lets get started on this revolution thingy because if we don't get on with it the rest of the world will have beaten us too it - again!

  • Comment number 71.

    I think what a lot of people mis-understand is that although maternity leave can be a pain - it's a lot less pain than the 'high profile single salesman' you stretched your budget to get - who walks out on you for a better offer - right when you needed him.

    Everyone in business has experienced this disappointment in some form or other - mothers tend to return to work (I mean who wants to stay at home with the kids) - the flash car fancy dan never does....and he'll take all your clients from you too!

  • Comment number 72.

    60. At 2:10pm on 08 Mar 2010, GRIMUPNORTH77 wrote:

    "A woman 'might' bring skills? So who decides if it is not the hirer? Or is it correct that the employment world should become anti men because women 'might' have the answer?"

    Maybe, but surely as we have been running with employment that's been 'anti women' for so long....isn't it time to redress that balance and have and make it extra difficult for men?

    I mean if women can flourish in the anti-female world of work - then what are men scared of?

    ....can't cut the mustard? - have to have it in the mans favour or man won't play?

    Ha - I'll take on the challenge, shame most men are wimps.

    The way I see it women have already proven they're better - now it's time for men to show they can achieve the same on the same uneven playing field

  • Comment number 73.

    # 62 yep about 75% of the public sector are women.

    for the top jobs women make up the following %ages:
    7% senior judiciary
    7% senior police officers
    12% senior university positions
    13% local authority chiefs
    23% of civil service top jobs
    29% health service top jobs

    IMO the public sector is not immuned from sexism

  • Comment number 74.

    10. At 08:59am on 08 Mar 2010, Roy wrote:
    Gender is a red herring here. The issue is the qualities which firms seek out when hiring: such as aggression, appetite for risk, and mild sociopathy - which are more prevalent in males.

    Had the banks been forced to hire more females they would have gone for the small subset of women with those traits, rather than the slightly larger subset of men with those traits.

    If you want to change the characteristics of decision-makers, target the way desirable characteristics are selected, rather than a lazy proxy for those characteristics. Don't forget there were many non-Alpha, testosterone-fuelled males who were passed over for City/board-level jobs, as well as women.


    It makes me so sad. But I have to agree with you. I've had terrible experiences in as a woman working in a man's world. I thought it was just me, but lo and behold the number of women who graduated with doctorates at the same time as myself report the same thing. Over and over again. It is a risk going to court; you'll be labelled as a trouble-maker for the rest of your career.
    Broken Britain in the poor areas! Give me a break, it is broken in every strata!
    It is indeed a broken society and mothers must learn to raise decent sons and wives should insist their husbands behave appropriately at all times......

  • Comment number 75.

    62. At 2:13pm on 08 Mar 2010, Feel_Bad_Factor wrote:

    "I would like to be a 'man' for a change and say that if we men sat back and left it all to women, they would still be bashing rocks together trying to make fire."

    Is that what being a man is? - making unqualifiable statements that put others down in order to make you feel superior?

  • Comment number 76.

    22. At 10:31am on 08 Mar 2010, writingsonthewall

    Indeed. I was advised my a senior manager from a different department that if I wanted my doctorate to count for anything, then what I needed to do was undergo breast enlargement and dress more sexily at work and forget about doing a good job because the men resented my abilities! She wasn't insisting, but more of 'facts of life' talk.

    Never. Never. Never.


  • Comment number 77.

    #64 VirtualSilverLady

    Agree with a lot of what you say and i do enjoy reading your posts. I wanted myself to draw attention to the estimated 12% pay differential between males and females which still exists or most. I couldn't agree more about the problem of women being put into tick boxes, not all women are a sterotypes anymore than all men

    Where i do disagree though is the phrase: "I'm sure if they are career minded enough and have the talent they will get there anyway"

    to get things in perspective the 10% of women who are directors of FTSE companies equates to 100 women , historically over a quater accept they received the job through a form of nepotism ( i do not know the comparable figure for men). i.e there are at best 75 women at best whoes career lead them to the top jobs in uk business. I have previously highlighted that the public secotor is similar

    IMO this equates to a very unlevel playing field in UK Business which to me is a complete waste of talent as well as being very inefficient.

  • Comment number 78.

    42. At 12:00pm on 08 Mar 2010, GRIMUPNORTH77

    See the problem with that is the assumption that a woman will actually want to have kids. I don't. I never have, yet employers presume to judge me on that assumption. For business to succeed we are told they must take risks, but they are afraid to risk employing a woman who just might decide she wants to have a baby or just might decide she doesn't. My gran would say that is wanting your bread buttered on both sides.

    How much committment is an employer likely to provide to employees?

  • Comment number 79.

    67. At 2:45pm on 08 Mar 2010, Megan

    Sad that so many management mantras become believed as if true. One of my friends is a surgeon and he would be shaking his head at what you say.

    Most people work too many hours because their organisations are understaffed, and if they don't work extra they are frightened their jobs and the company will be lost.

    Or how about the soldiers out on patrol? The plumbers fixing all the burst pipes after a spell of freezing weather? Beggars belief, that my dad spent the winters of the 1970s working 18 hours a day. If only he'd known to delegate the work he could have spent more time with me as a kid!

    PS.
    You teach people to concentrate/focus. Why aren't they learning that as children?

  • Comment number 80.

    The PM has chosen today's International Women's Day - as strong case for obliging private-sector companies to report on the progress they've made in promoting women to senior executive and non-executive positions.
    No, no, no…
    The PM should be asking for a report on the progress being made for ensuring that qualified women are not being knocked unconscious by the glass ceiling. I don’t believe in promoting women just because they are women, any more than I believe in promoting blacks simnply because they are blacks, or any other similar reason.

    I think a fairer way to measure this “promotion of women” issue is to ask different questions:
    - the underutilization of graduates from commercial/finance courses. i.e. Do women obtain entry positions into commerce and finance based on degree, or do they end up in positions totally unrelated?
    - If hired into commerce/finance, how long before they are promoted? How does this compare to junior level men?
    - Do university/employment records indicate that men with lower academic qualifications get hired ahead of women with higher academic qualifications?
    I could think of more questions, but I think you get the idea.
    All I'm saying is: ask a poor question, get a poor answer, like grabage in, garbage out.
    I don't think that the questions that have been asked give a clear picture of what is actually transpiring between university and the working world, and subsequently, within the working world.

  • Comment number 81.

    "70. At 2:48pm on 08 Mar 2010, writingsonthewall wrote:
    ....well what are we all waiting for? Lets get started on this revolution thingy because if we don't get on with it the rest of the world will have beaten us too it - again!"

    The civil servants are out on strike today and tomorrow. Why?
    Well the government wants to change their contracts, something that they didn't want to do with Fred of RBS or the many others who had bonuses.

  • Comment number 82.

    #51 - further to my #60 the following thought occurs to me.

    If women are better than men at a job then the companies whose 'hirers' recognise this fact will become more successful than those whose don't.

    Then they will hire more women etc etc.

    However if the reverse is true then men will continue to dominate in whichever industry women are not better than men.

    I think Darwin would have suggested this would happen anyway....

  • Comment number 83.

    71. At 2:51pm on 08 Mar 2010, writingsonthewall wrote:
    ....the flash car fancy dan never does....and he'll take all your clients from you too!
    ------------------------------
    This has happened to me. You do imply that the flash car fancy dan is male but then you are correct.
    Given a choice of equal candidates of each sex I would generally opt for the woman. Usually less ego, more loyalty and even a better common sense!

  • Comment number 84.

    75. At 3:00pm on 08 Mar 2010, writingsonthewall wrote:

    62. At 2:13pm on 08 Mar 2010, Feel_Bad_Factor wrote:

    "I would like to be a 'man' for a change and say that if we men sat back and left it all to women, they would still be bashing rocks together trying to make fire."

    Is that what being a man is? - making unqualifiable statements that put others down in order to make you feel superior?

    Hmmmmm ok then, how about this:-

    I would like to be a 'woman' for a change and say that if we leave it all to men, well we can't, because 'men cannot be trusted to run things on their own' (Harriet Harman).

    I suppose you feel her statement was qualifiable? Then there was the soundbite about Lehman Bros would have done better if it had been Lehman Sisters.....

    Still, at least the girls in my office thought bashing rocks bit was funny.

  • Comment number 85.

    # 74. At 2:59pm on 08 Mar 2010, copperDolomite wrote:

    > Broken Britain in the poor areas! Give me a break, it is broken in every
    > strata! It is indeed a broken society and mothers must learn to raise
    > decent sons and wives should insist their husbands behave appropriately
    > at all times......

    The Celts have been suggesting that we break up Britain. They would use a special economic zone south of Hadrian's wall and east of Offa's dyke, called “England”, where they can pen in all the ugly stuff (sexist wastrels, class-warfare, right-wing nutters, nuclear dumps, monster cities, cheating non-doms, tax fiddlers, greedy money-counters, sink-estates, litter, political slime-balls, land-fill sites, libel lawyers, secret-service torturers, scum-bag aristocrats, traffic jams, power-crazed weirdos, and those terrible newspapers - the Sun and the Mail) and give them their own, weaker currency to play with called “The Pound”.

    The Celts in Scotland, Ireland and Wales, and even parts of Cornwall and Cumberland, could use the common European currency and achieve long term stability and prosperity in a progressive, European environment, while those entrapped in the ugly cities within “The Pen” would have to make do as best they can. Hopefully, Glasgow would become a sort of “Oslo of the South”, with a Petro-Euro economy.

    Look, it's much better to keep all the crap in in one place, than to spread it out all over the place.

  • Comment number 86.

    My picks of the day:

    “Women are less greedy, and so are more suitable for making judgements that affect society (with the obvious exception of Mrs Thatcher).”

    “Men are better at fighting and mending cars etc. (with the obvious exception of bankers, who can't do anything properly).”

    “If blokes want to run a business, they should have chemical castration first.”

    "I would like to be a 'man' for a change and say that if we men sat back and left it all to women, they would still be bashing rocks together trying to make fire."

    I think they all smack of

    “…unqualifiable statements that put others down in order to make you feel superior?”

  • Comment number 87.

    Kudospeter #77

    'Agree with a lot of what you say and i do enjoy reading your posts. I wanted myself to draw attention to the estimated 12% pay differential between males and females which still exists or most'

    But is this comparing like with like ? If not, then the differential doesn't really tell you anything. If so, please give some examples where men and women doing the same job at the same level get paid different rates.

  • Comment number 88.

    So what is all this about Shaky Santander buying more Bank Branches ?

    You would think with the Spanish property troubles, which will feed through to loan defaults in the fullness of time, that folks like Santander and BBVA would be being more prudent and careful.

    Just where are they finding this Money ? Taxpayers indirectly subsidising foreign takeovers ?

    The ol' Swiss Banks must have been busy !


    Now they mainly Employ Men, hmm just like Shaky Santander.......

  • Comment number 89.

    Right... More women at top jobs can be a good thing, however, are some people pushing this agenda a little too much? It will be naive to suggest that all work places are workers paradise, however, based on what I have seen in the banks I've worked in, most people gets there because they've been around long enough or they know enough people to get them to the right place. That's male or female. Are they based on merit? Some of them are, but not necessarily all of them. Is it fair? Of course not. So how does it feel to have your promotion denied because there's some quota the company has to fill? Not the best, I'd imagine.

    On another point: what's wrong with the proposed paternity leave? Fathers will get £123.06 for two weeks pay, yet mothers get 90% of gross pay for the first 6 weeks. If the government is actually treating people fair, they should at least equalize these. The government has had over 10 years to fix that, yet it hasn't. Please preach us things you don't deliver yourself.

  • Comment number 90.

    copperdolomite #78

    'but they are afraid to risk employing a woman who just might decide she wants to have a baby '

    and with the law making the risks far greater, you can't blame them. Much better just to let companies decide for themselves the pros and cons on a case by case basis, rather than trying to force them to behave as if there were no differences. I suspect you may be suffering as a result of these misguided attempts.


  • Comment number 91.

    #78 - I'm not sure what bit of my #42 you are referring to?

    My own view is that your view is very one sided possibly driven by some bad personal experiences from reading your other posts.

    In any interview situation each candidate will have advantages and disadvantages over the other candidates and inevitably some of that will be driven by the hirers prejudices/opinions/beliefs.

    Historically men have been in the majority in the role of hirer but I think that is slowly changing so the battlefield should also be becoming more even.

    Also one of the main prejudices would be that women are not as good at manual jobs - as this side of the job market is rapidly reducing it seems it is only a matter of time before it is the men who will be complaining about prejudices and the women who have all the jobs.

    At that point we will need all Plamski's gender bending chemicals to be able to survive in a world of day time telly..................Loose Women (you can't get much more sexist than that) perhaps will be renamed Loose Men??

  • Comment number 92.

    From a Psychological are not Men still raised to believe they are supposed to be the Great Provider for their families ?

    Perhaps, Women have more balanced and emotionally sound upbringings.

    Hmm, how many women enjot playing Monopoly ? Or Chess?
    But again how many more prefer Crafting as a hobby.

    Women, perhaps, are genrally raised to be more co operative, Men are raised to be more Competitive.

    Perhaps the flaw is there.

    Scientists would probably say that their is a biological imperative for the Male to be both aggressive and territorial.
    And, much Human behaviour could be put down to this animal impulse.

    Why accumulate unneccessary surpluses' of funds ?
    Why accumulate silly and childish status symbols ?

    Are these behaviours merely the corruption of the basic Human animal instinct to be Pack Leader and Top Dog ?

    At what point in History will Humans decide to be more than Animals, and redefine their ways of living to fit a more rational/practical view, of what is possible.

    Glad I'm not a Scientist, it could be most depressing.

  • Comment number 93.

    Moderators:

    sexist - NOT GUILTY
    swear words - NOT GUILTY
    racist - NOT GUILTY
    homophobic - NOT GUILTY
    sexually explicit - NOT GUILTY
    abusive or otherwise objectionable - GUILTY AS CHARGED
    posted with an intention to disrupt - GUILTY AS CHARGED
    other language likely to offend - GUILTY AS CHARGED
    provoke - GUILTY AS CHARGED
    attack or offend others - GUILTY AS CHARGED

    Hm... I would never write an email which wasn't objectionable, disruptive,
    offensive and provoking. Why else would anyone write anything?

    It seems that your guidelines need to be updated.

  • Comment number 94.

    78. At 3:16pm on 08 Mar 2010, copperDolomite wrote:
    “…the problem with that is the assumption that a woman will actually want to have kids.”

    Bad employers also seem to be able to ignore the other things that can place similar demands on a potential employee’s time (like looking after dependent relatives or elderly parents etc) and which are not sex specific.

    Just as a bad employer (incorrectly) assumes that, at some point, you will have childcare commitments, they also assume (incorrectly) that no man will have anything that would involve similar commitments.

  • Comment number 95.

    Right I'm off home to see what my wife has cooked me for tea. Hope she's ironed me a shirt for tomorrow. ;-)>

  • Comment number 96.

    Jacques Cartier #85

    'Hopefully, Glasgow would become a sort of “Oslo of the South”, with a Petro-Euro economy'

    You're really going to have cut down on the Buckfast.

  • Comment number 97.

    Please! Please! Please! - can someone please explain to Gordon Brown that fairness (as he indicates is central to his general election campaign) should apply to:

    'banks'

    Yeah - Oh and sending troops onto the front line and .... education and health service and... well there are some other things but I can't remember what they are right now ...

  • Comment number 98.

    85. At 3:58pm on 08 Mar 2010, Jacques Cartier

    The Celts!

    What a lot of the media seem to have neglected as we approach the election is just that.
    Do they realise the implications of a Tory government elected by one part of the UK with only one or two (at best) elected Tories north of the border?
    I've no idea how things may play out for Wales, though I don't think it looks too promising for a United Kingdom.
    It seems that Mrs Thatcher did more than any other politician to bring about the destruction of the UK. David Cameron should he win, will finish the job.

    Does that mean a woman living in Glasgow will fare better with the loss of the macho-imposed glass ceiling that exists in that other place, the City?

  • Comment number 99.

    Bankers/financiers etc,business people in general continually say that there is little, if any morality, in making money.

    If true, then women who consistently make more money than men surely will get their due promotion(s).

  • Comment number 100.

    Sadly, another diversion... It won't make any difference if banks stay as they are.
    The power of women in banks is not the issue. The power of one sector of the economy to bring down that economy is the real problem.
    Overpaid women instead of overpaid men? Not really a solution.
    This is not a 'rights issue'.

 

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