Read more on diversity:
- Getting right balance of age and experience is a big challenge for bosses
- What can UK firms learn from workplace equality around the world?
- Do female tech bosses see a shift in gender diversity in 2016? The answer is yes
Their limited size means that whoever sits around that table needs to make a significant contribution, irrespective of gender, race or sexuality. If someone from such a background can enhance the decision-making of the board, then hooray for Henry or Henrietta.The setting of mandatory quotas for gender, for instance, wouldn’t work for SMEs, even though the European appetite for such a controversial initiative is building speed. In Germany, for example, large companies have to include 30 per cent of women as non-executive board members. Similar approaches now exist in Italy, Spain, France and Norway, although to date, SMEs are exempt from such quotas. It seems then that for SMEs, what’s happening to larger companies is to be admired, perhaps even envied, for such initiatives can bring huge rewards. But that really should be as far as it goes – admiration and not emulation. For SMEs, diversity is nothing more than a diversion. And diversions always take you longer, cost more money, and bring more than a hint of frustration. Ask any driver – male or female.
At the First Women Summit 2016, controversial comedy superstar Katherine Ryan explained her journey from Hooters Girl to how she got to where she is today – especially as comedy is undoubtedly one of Britain’s less gender equal industries.Concerned with issues surrounding gender diversity in business? Don’t miss the Real Business First Women programme: Drawing on years of the First Women movement and the phenomenal network of pioneering women the Awards has created, this programme features The First Women Awards and The First Women Summit – designed to educate, mentor and inspire women in all levels of business. Ian Wright is the founder of non-exec network NonExecutiveDirectors.com Image: Shutterstock
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