For women who Rock their Role in work and life

Doing the David Cameron shuffle

I am never one to force, more to encourage, or coerce. I do it with my daughter all the time, ‘oh you don’t want to do your homework, oh that’s fine, just clean your room instead then’, suddenly homework seems more appealing!

Why am I telling you this? Well yesterday my feelings changed, thanks to David Cameron, I realised that sometimes a bit of force is needed.

It started with a twitter discussion that was led by the Evening Standard on how to achieve more women on boards. You can look up the twitter feed #womenonboards or @standardnews. I was still on the fence on quotas at the end of it, even with the knowledge that those smart women in Norway have used quotas to achieve a representation of women making up 40% of their boards. Instead I idealised working with men to make change happen together, an evolving and iterative process. Walking side by side, creating this diverse, inclusive and valued board.

Then I watched with horror as David Cameron did what felt like going back on his 2008 pledge to end the “scandalous under-representation” of women in government, (his words, not mine) by sacking the few women in his cabinet. There are now only 4 women out of 31 cabinet members, which is shocking.

According to the Telegraph, the UK is 57th in the world for representation of women in the cabinet, yes, I said it right 57th! How can we then be a forward thinking developing economy? This put’s my comment ‘shocking’ into context for you.

You see even if the women he shuffled out weren’t performing; why not shuffle some women back in? After all we all know in the shuffle dance, we don’t just go in one direction, we go back and forth and side to side.

I suspect that the truth has leaked out in his action, his words may lyrically entice us, but his actions definitely don’t. They represent that David wants his old boys network by his side.

Consciously or unconsciously, David is doing the very thing that boards do all the time, although with much more public scrutiny.

It will be no surprise if any of these last women standing resign, as any requests for flexibility will stand out amongst their peers, the sense of isolation will be deafening and getting their voice heard will be a gargantuan feat.

So you know what, I am now for quotas and fast, especially in government.

If David can shuffle, so can I.


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One thought on “Doing the David Cameron shuffle

  1. The statistic according to according to the Telegraph, the UK is 57th in the world for representation of women in the cabinet is nothing short of shameful. David Cameron was obliged to have a ‘Cabinet Reshuffle’ because his critics were accusing him of being weak and ‘lily livered’.

    I like David Cameron and think that overall is desperately trying to do a trying to play the politics, and as he should well know by now that is something you cannot afford to do if you want to be a successful Prime Minister. He is not there to be liked! Surely the indomitable Margaret Thatcher at least taught him that!

    Sadly despite being a forerunner for female Prime Ministers, British politics still have very “limiting assumptions” about women in the workplace today, with many men and all male business boards believing that women are not up for the broader business challenges and can only offer the soft skills. So until we can shift and change this attitude the even sadder static of being 57th in the world for representation of women in the cabinet will remain.
    Trisha Proud
    Partners in Solutions

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