Ahead of Lord Davies’s report on Boardroom equality, he will be somewhat alarmed by the survey results carried out by the Institute of Leadership and Management, which found that 73% of women felt that they still face barriers to top-level promotion. Quotas are a suggestion to break down this barrier. As Sheelagh Whittaker, a non-executive directive of Standard Life said:
‘I am a big supporter of quotas. I believe that we will only have true equality when we have as many incompetent women in positions of power as incompetent men.’
However, others say that quotas are not the answer, as they don’t actually change the fundamentals. Forcing compliance for equality in the workplace is not the same as equality in the workplace. There are a number of other reasons behind fewer women in top level positions, including less confidence and ambition, a more risk-averse attitude to promotion, as well as more women than men aspiring to run their own company, rather than seek promotion within a firm. So does discrimination still remain in the workplace or are there other explanations for the fact that only 12% of FTSE 100 directors are women?
Women still face a glass ceiling Guardian, Graham Dnowdwon (21/2/11)
Female managers say classing ceiling intact – survey BBC News (21/2/11)
The ‘glass ceiling’ is all in the mind: women lack confidence and ambition at work says new survey Daily Mail, Steve Doughty (21/2/11)
Women hit glass ceiling while report rejects boardroom quotas Independent, David Prosser (21/2/11)
Poll: Glass ceiling still a barrier The Press Association (21/2/11)
Men not to blame for the glass ceiling The Australian, Jack Grimston (21/2/11)
- How are equilibrium wages determined in perfect and imperfect markets?
- Is it efficient for a firm to pay men more than women or to hire/promote more men than women?
- Illustrate the concept of discrimination against women in the labour market. Think about the effect on the MRP curve and hence on equilibrium quantity and wage. How does this affect the MRP curve for men?
- What are the other causes of less women being FTSE 100 directors besides ‘the glass ceiling’?
- To what extent would a quota be effective in achieving gender equality in the workplace?
- Are there any other policies that could be used to tackle discrimination of any kind? What are the pros and cons of each?