One company claimed that women would not understand the "extremely complex" issues

Some of the UKs biggest companies have been exposed for their "pitiful" and "patronising" excuses for not having enough women in board positions.

A UK government review on the lack of women in senior positions has heard how some chairmen don't think women would "fit in" - and "they don't want the hassle."

One company claimed that women would not understand the "extremely complex" issues covered during board meetings, while another said "board colleagues wouldn't want to appoint a woman."

The excuses were all made to the team working for the Hampton-Alexander Review, which is tasked by the British Government to examine the gender balance of corporate boards in the country's leading companies.

Westminster is aiming for a third of senior positions to be held by women by 2020.

The top ten explanations given for not employing more women were:

  • "I don't think women fit comfortably into the board environment"
  • "There aren't that many women with the right credentials and depth of experience to sit on the board - the issues covered are extremely complex"
  • "Most women don't want the hassle or pressure of sitting on a board"
  • "Shareholders just aren't interested in the make-up of the board, so why should we be?"
  • "My other board colleagues wouldn't want to appoint a woman on our board"
  • "All the 'good' women have already been snapped up"
  • "We have one woman already on the board, so we are done - it is someone else's turn"
  • "There aren't any vacancies at the moment - if there were I would think about appointing a woman"
  • "We need to build the pipeline from the bottom - there just aren't enough senior women in this sector"
  • "I can't just appoint a woman because I want to"

The latest statistics on the number of women in UK boardrooms will be announced at the end of June.

The number of all-male company boards in the UK fell from 152 in 2011 to 10 in 2017.

However those leading the Government review have warned that significant progress is needed if the 2020 target is to be met.