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Shock survey sparks calls to have more women at top

By Staff Reporter

The head of a body supporting the advancement of women in business here has called for change to ensure more females get appointed to boards.

Roseann Kelly, chief executive of Women in Business in Northern Ireland, spoke as the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy announced some of the excuses given by companies for not having women on their boards.

The information was released ahead of the conclusion of the Hampton-Alexander Review into female representation on boards.

Excuses provided to BEIS included "there aren't that many women with the right credentials and depth of experience to sit on the board - the issues covered are extremely complex".

Another company offered the explanation: "My other board colleagues wouldn't want to appoint a woman on our board."

Ms Kelly said she was also disappointed to see the departure of a woman from the chief executive's role at Moy Park, after its owner announced the appointment of Chris Kirke to succeed Janet McCollum.

With Ms McCollum's departure, just three Northern Ireland companies will be led by women - Progressive Building Society, SHS Group and NI Water.

Ms Kelly said men must join the campaign to appoint more women to boards.

"It is disappointing also to see the same old excuses used time and time again, we must change cultures and avoid any complacency," she said.

"We need our male colleagues to champion change, only with both genders working together will we achieve success."

Amanda Mackenzie, chief executive of Business in the Community, said: "As you read this list of excuses you might think it's 1918, not 2018. It reads like a script from a comedy parody, but it's true. Surely we can now tackle this once and for all. Maybe those that give credence to these excuses are the ones that are not up to sitting on boards and should move over: we are in the 21st century after all."

Belfast Telegraph

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