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Women are never quite the right age for promotion

 (ES Composite)
(ES Composite)

We can’t be sure what the Treasury Committee’s lengthy investigation into sexism in the City is going to conclude.

But I think we can guess that it is not going to say there isn’t enough of it.

Progress has been made, it will say. The question is how much teeth it asks City regulators to bare on banks still not getting the point.

One thing the Committee should say is that sexism is tied up with ageism. Women are never quite the right age for promotion they say: either too inexperienced or, later, too caught up with the family they have since had.

City institutions themselves complain that they lose talented early-fifties women who decide they have had enough. As if the fault line here wasn’t directly with them.


If this goes wrong, all we get are a few days of sexism in the City headlines.

If Parliament and the Financial Conduct Authority take this seriously, there is a chance of genuine progressive change that will make workplaces better for everyone.

Without that, what was the point of the six-month inquiry?

One telling issue was how reluctant even highly successful women are to go on the record about all this. One said it would come to define her, that men would see her as someone who complained even though she herself has had, and continues to have, a brilliant career.

Despite years of campaigning, fewer than 10% of FTSE 100 CEOs are female. In fact, more chief executives are called Andrew or Simon than are women.

And there is one fewer female CEO since Alison Rose got turfed out of NatWest in the debanking row involving Nigel Farage. Some women in the City think she was given a particularly hard time due to her gender. Well past time for things to change.