Sexism inquiry committee has only one female member

A recent study found the fewer female managers a company had, the more its share price had dropped since the beginning of last year.
A recent study found the fewer female managers a company had, the more its share price had dropped since the beginning of last year.

By Liz Stephens

The Treasury select committee investigating sexism in the City has only one female MP member.

The committee is conducting an inquiry into the role of and problems faced by women in the city as part of its attempt to prevent another financial crisis. It is also investigating pay inequalities faced by women working in financial firms

Currently only 11 per cent of FTSE 100 company directors are women, according to statistics by the Fawcett Society.


However, with 14 members, the Treasury select committee has only seven per cent female representation.

In the past, the committee has included up to three women but currently Sally Keeble, Labour MP for Northampton North, is the only female member.

The committee has previously faced criticism for calling mostly male witnesses to the banking crisis hearings.

The current inquiry, which is due to hold hearings in the Autumn, will investigate pay inequality, flexible working practices and the extent to which the culture of the City is sexist, as well as the prevalence of sexual harassment and exploitation.

Chairman of the committee, John McFall, said: "At a time when pay and corporate governance are key issues in terms of redrawing financial regulation, the committee feels it is important to highlight the issue of gender equality in the financial services industry.

"We hope our inquiry will provoke an important debate about the representation and treatment of women in the City".

The financial crisis has prompted a number of investigations into corporate governance and whether more female representation on the boards of banks could prevent future trouble.

French business school Ceram believes women could be the "antidote" to the global financial crisis. In a study it found that the fewer female managers a company had, the more its share price had dropped since the beginning of last year.

Of the French banks, BNP-Paribas received the smallest blow from the crisis. Its shares fell by only 20 per cent. Almost 40 per cent of its managers are women.

By comparison, Crédit Agricole, which has only 16 per cent female managers, saw its stock fall by 50 per cent.

In October, Iceland appointed two women to clean up its troubled banking industry.

The Treasury select committee is calling for evidence by 10 September.

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