In the words of Groucho Marx, “The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made” and with this in mind I am left wondering whether David Cameron is discovering or faking the secret of life when he speaks of the benefits of corporate equality and the need for more women in the boardroom as his ready remedy for the current economic crisis.
While I whole heartedly agree honesty and fair dealing, regardless of gender, should be a motivation for us all, I struggle to understand how Cameron plans to instigate a shift in age old corporate habits to ensure women get more top industry jobs when he remains unable to implement a shift in either policy or legislation which meaningfully takes to task the perpetrators of banking fraud or makes them accountable for their crimes against the economy.
Little more than one hundred years ago women fought for sound policy and impartial justice for all. A century later however, it is not just women who are suffering the consequences of discrimination, this time by government backed banking recklessness and unbridled favoritism, when it comes to arrears solutions and debt forgiveness for individuals.
Although I applaud the principal of a meritocracy which takes no heed of gender, the chance of success will remain limited if our government appointed regulators continue to support employers like HBOS who openly declare they have no obligation to discuss lending matters with married women if they have already discussed them with their husbands. I cannot imagine this Lloyds TSB Group owned, taxpayer supported corporation will be one to embrace a louder female executive voice on the board or anywhere else if my own experience is anything to go by.
For me it is Kishore Mahbubani not David Cameron who explains who will be guiding our politics towards economic recovery when he says,
"The simplest way of understanding the virtues of meritocracy is to ask the question: why is Brazil a soccer superpower and an economic middle power? The answer is that when it looks for soccer talent, it searches for it in all sectors of the population, from upper classes to the slums. A boy from the slums is not discriminated against if he has soccer talent. But in the economic field, Brazil looks for talent in a far smaller base of the population, primarily the upper and middle classes."
I strongly suspect any vision for economic recovery is destined to suffer the mediocre results of the Brazilian economic field if it continues to remains so deeply entrenched in the old boy network it is unable to pay anything but lip service to accessing the untapped potential of womankind from either the upper middle class or anywhere else for that matter. However, in the event this is not the case and more women do find their way into high places with David Cameron’s help, I can only hope their effectiveness might bode well for those of us who have been discriminated against and defrauded out of our financial futures at the hands of banks like HBOS. If not, judging by the number of comments attached to articles on this subject, Cameron’s words have made a high profile and debatable headline even if, like Groucho Marx’s suggests, the speaker has merely mastered the art of faking it.