The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is ranked in the UK Workplace Equality Index of the well-known British organization Stonewall, i.e. an annual list of the 100 workplaces in Great Britain considered as the most inclusive for LGBT+ persons. The FCA is an independent public body responsible for regulating the financial market so as to keep it “transparent, fair and efficient” through its oversight of the approximately 51,000 financial services firms in the UK.
Among other issues, the FCA is also working toward gender parity, and last year, along with other recommendations made to hundreds of companies listed on the London Stock Exchange, it included the recommendation that at least 40 percent of a company’s top corporate and executive board positions, and at least one position on the board, should be held by women. In short, these are the so-called pink quotas which, however, soon turned out to be rainbow quotas, since the FCA specified that they would be “[…] including those who identify themselves as women”.
That policy, however, does not appear in the final document issued on April 20, following surveys of 540 companies, which took place between July and October. In fact, out of 540 responses received by the FCA, 439 focused exclusively on the issue of women’s representation among senior staff in big business, with 438 of those responses stating that they were opposed to including men who self-identify as women in the rule about the minimum 40% of female presence.
Respondents said that the targets set for female presence in key corporate positions “based on self-identified gender could lead to more men by sex on boards,” undermining “the stated purpose of the proposals to improve diversity,” noting that such a policy would be contrary to the existing equalities legislation.
Maya Forstater, executive director of the Sex Matters advocacy group, who has suffered dismissal and prosecution in the past for stating in a tweet that transgender men are not women, also spoke on the issue. Forstater stated that “The FCA was wise to allow companies to report straightforwardly on the proportion of male and female members of its boards, in line with the Equality Act and the Companies Act“, adding that it is “not for the financial regulator to redefine what ‘man’ and ‘woman’ mean.”