The subject of women on boards was discussed at a joint meeting yesterday of the Legal Affairs and Women’s Rights Committees. The Committees were discussing the Commission proposal to increase the number of female non-executive directors in publicly listed, large companies.
In his intervention UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom started by saying it was not the place for the EU to decide who sat on the boards of private [sic] companies, which smacked of the old Soviet Union. He then likened the women on boards initiative to quotas for political parties, eg “Blair’s Babes” and “Cameron’s Cuties”, which resulted in young women being put in “impossible positions”. To clinch his argument he said “one junior Conservative minister, a woman, didn’t know the difference between the national debt and the national deficit”. You can watch his misogynistic speech above.
My reaction was since when has gender had anything to do with someone making a slip-up. Godfrey Bloom had himself just made an error in his opening sentence, referring to private companies, yet I don’t believe anyone would blame his ineptitude on his gender.
As is his style, once he’d made his intervention Godfrey Bloom left the room before any members could respond.