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“Women on FS boards are necessary for understanding customers”, says Harman

Equalities secretary of state and minister for women Harriet Harman says that women must sit on the boards of financial services firms to ensure that they understand and are representative of their customer base.

Speaking at a Treasury Select Committee evidence session on women in the city this morning, Harman said that financial services firms who discriminate against women are “artificially blinkered”.

She said: “The financial services industry is delivering to a customer base of individuals and businesses which have got women participating in them as well as men and therefore a men-only leadership of financial services doesn’t understand the female customer base.

“If you are only looking at half the population then you are only looking at half the brains and half the commitment and therefore we are not being meritocratic because you are artificially blinkered.”


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There are 4 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Unfortunately this argument has already been undermined by the experience of having Cabinet Ministers being appointed just because they are women not because they have the qualifications or aptitude for the job.
    When you look at the records of people such as Smith, Becket and Harman herself it just re-inforces the belief that ability is the key to successful management and not the accident of the right mixture of chromosones

  2. 100% in agreement with the contributor above. It’s aptitude not sex that should determine a persons appointment to a job. You can see what happens when its not the case – look at Harman……..

  3. I find Harmans continued protestations that the financial health and stability of the nation would have better served by having more women at the helm to be insulting, and unreasonable.


    All promoted solely on the basis of their gender in a ridiculous campaign of “Blairs Babes” (weren’t these so-called intillectuals not offended by this rather patronising tag?).

    True – the male of the species has hardly proved to be beyond reproach, but to suggest the solution may lie in identifying a specific gender, as opposed to a specific skillset is disgraceful.

    The sooner this woman is removed for power, the better.

  4. Eh?

    If we’re trying to reflect the customer base then surely we should make sure that there’s a broad range of incomes represented in the boardroom?

    Perhaps some current board members will take a voluntary drop in salary and/or bonus to help achieve this?

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