In response to http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/ukip/10244637/Ukip-treasurer-Women-are-not-competitive-enough-for-the-board-room.html.
When I entered the Ladies' World Backgammon Championship in 2010 there were two notable differences between that and the main open tournament (which I had also entered, but I had been knocked out in the third round). First, not as many players entered and secondly, the average standard was much lower. To answer Stephen Wheeler's accusations by pointing to successful women in backgammon (or in chess, bridge and poker) is disingenuous - these women exist but they are still few and far between.
This is also true in the boardroom, and throughout the industry in my own sector, technology. There are excellent women, but women on average are performing at a lower standard. The difference in the boardroom is that having women on the board is now widely recognised to have many many benefits for a business, from cultural improvements to better staff retention, and some studies show a diverse board leading to increases in a much more concrete area - profits. Apart from a more enjoyable experience for participants, I can't see any compelling need for the government to work to increase the number of female poker players.
Discussing differences between men and women is an area fraught with danger. I frequently come nearly to fisticuffs with my own family when debating "nature vs nurture". Luckily we do not need to solve this question in order to ascertain whether more women could be qualified to sit on boards in the future. We simply need to look at how the landscape has already changed. Just 100 years ago (a short time frame compared to that of human civilization), a discussion around having any women in the boardroom would have been unthinkable. Yet women were already working in roles previously barred to them such as teaching, secretarial work and nursing. And we all know what happened a mere 5 years later...
I have no doubt that, gradually, the landscape will change further with more and more women entering the top roles. If we want this change to happen sooner and we want to realise the benefits of a properly diverse and inclusive board structure, we need to do things differently to how they are being done already. Quotas, affirmative action and "success lists" like the Management Today 35 under 35 are a sign of the future and we support them because we hope they will bring the future to pass more quickly.
Managing Director of Softwire, technology and backgammon presenter. Plus a little bit of new music radio.