British companies have been called “pitiful” by an MP after giving dubious excuses about why they haven’t appointed any women to their boards.
Business minister Andrew Griffith said it was “shocking” that leading UK companies were coming up with excuses including the issues discussed by the board being too “complex” for women to understand.
The unidentified businesses were asked why their boards had few or no women by the Hampton-Alexander Review, a government-backed organisation that investigates the gender balance of boards.
“It is shocking that some businesses think these pitiful and patronising excuses are acceptable reasons to keep women from top jobs,” said Griffith.
"Our most successful companies are those that champion diversity."
A study by McKinsey found companies with a better gender balance were 21 per cent more likely to enjoy above-average profitability, it was reported in January.
They surveyed 1,000 companies across 12 countries.
Other eyebrow-raising excuses given by the UK firms included:
“I don’t think women fit comfortably into a board environment.”
“Shareholders just aren't interested in the make-up of the board, so why should we be?”
“My other board colleagues wouldn't want to appoint a woman on our board.”
“We need to build the pipeline from the bottom - there just aren't enough senior women in this sector.”
“Most women don't want the hassle or pressure of sitting on a board.”
Data on women in boardrooms will be released at the end of June.