Girls' school leader calls for quotas in the boardroom

Helen Fraser says old boys' network only promotes those who 'look, think and speak like the current leadership'

An old boys' network that only likes to promote those who "look, think and speak like the current leadership" is preventing thousands of women from accessing top jobs, the leader of an influential group of girls' schools will say tomorrow.

Helen Fraser, chief executive of the Girls' Day School Trust, will tell her annual conference that quotas must be introduced for women on boards of top companies to avoid women between the ages of 30 and 50 facing "lost decades" when men overtake them in the workplace.

In every sector of society from politics to the police, there are fewer women than men in top leadership positions - despite the fact girls now outperform boys at every level from national curriculum tests at 11 to the awarding of university degrees, she will say.

""You sometimes hear the excuse 'but they all go off and have babies'," Ms Fraser will add. "That's not the real argument.  It's just that - an excuse - we need to look deeper.

"We need to look at what society is doing that is holding women back - from a long hours culture in too many workplaces to an old boys' network that only likes to promote individuals who look, speak and think like the current leadership."

In her address, she will also argue that - in their first years of employment - girls often do better because of their superior qualifications, but will add: "And then what happens - why do there seem to be for so many women two 'lost decades' between 30 and 50 when they are overtaken by men?

"Are the very qualities that get them so brilliantly through education and the first stages of work (attentive, eager to learn, persistent, independent, flexible and organised) somehow disadvantaging them in the battle to climb a corporate or political ladder?

"With the possible exception of boardroom quotas, I believe we've probably gone as far as necessary in terms of legislating for equality ...  As a pragmatist I am very much in favour of 'what works' and it is clear to me that quotas for women would make a big difference in a short space of time.

"I don't think this would need to be a permanent measure but a short-term one until the representation of women reaches a tipping point."

The Girls' Day School Trust represents 24 independent schools and two state-financed academies teaching around 20,000 pupils between the ages of three and 18.

News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Swiss guards stand in the Sistine Chapel, which is to be lit, and protected, by 7,000 LEDs
art

The Sistine Chapel is set to be illuminated with thousands of LEDs

Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Sport
Ronaldinho signs the t-shirt of a pitch invader
footballProof they are getting bolder
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

IT Technician

£26000 - £27000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: Experienced Science Techn...

IT Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Group: Full or Part Time ICT Teacher ...

General Cover Teacher

£26000 - £27000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: NQT's and experienced Cov...

SEN Teacher

£36000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: Experienced SEN Teacher n...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?