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Judged bashes Probation Department for gender bias in favor of leniency for girls
BY Simone Weichselbaum and Thomas Zambito
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
Wednesday, December 1st 2010, 4:00 AM
A Queens judge is blasting the city's Probation Department for going easier on teenage girls than boys - even when they commit the same crimes.
Family Court Judge John Hunt accused probation of gender bias for trying to spare all but the most violent girls from prison time and the scarlet letter of the juvenile delinquent.
Hunt analyzed the cases of eight teenagers who had come before him - four boys and four girls - and found that probation routinely recommended tougher treatment for boys.
Take Queens eighth-graders Stephen C. and Jennifer S.
The teens took part in the robbery of a boy who was punched, kicked and choked before having his iPod wrested away. Probation recommended that Stephen be put on supervised probation while Jennifer should have her case eventually dismissed.
Judge Hunt disagreed Monday and ordered both teens put on probation for 18 months.
"The court could find no cogent reason why Jennifer S. should be treated differently than her accomplice, Stephen C.," Hunt wrote.
Hunt blamed a "seemingly bizarre, sterile and largely impersonal system" for the disparate treatment.
In an effort to trim the number of locked-up juveniles, the city partnered with the Vera Institute of Justice in 2003 to develop a computer-generated program that would take the guesswork out of probation officers' recommendations.
A higher score on the Probation Assessment Tool (PAT) means a recommendation that could lead to eventual dismissal of charges. A lower score means probation or lockup, not to mention the juvenile delinquent tag.
Hunt claims PAT routinely rewards girls with 14 extra points for gender alone, while boys get 0.
"The system contains a built-in gender bias in favor of female delinquents," Hunt writes.
Probation officials say the computer tool predicts the likelihood of a juvenile being rearrested based on a study of 763 similar cases.
"It is an assessment tool," said Ryan Dodge, a probation spokesman. "The court can always go against it. It is not set in stone."
Hunt said probation offered up no statistics to suggest boys were more likely to get in trouble again.
'Sexist' tax cut would benefit Ireland as a whole
IMF plan to cut women's income tax rate by five percentage points could raise Ireland's GDP as well as tackle inequality
The revelation in the news yesterday of an IMF proposal to lower the income tax rate of Irish women returning to the workforce by five percentage points, was greeted with bemusement swiftly followed by derision.
A number of angry men were quick to cry foul, branding the initiative "sexist". One popular daytime radio presenter described it as a "tax cut for the girls" and went so far as to speculate that any additional take-home pay resulting from what he branded a "sexist law" would be spent on "shopping and hair". A secondary, more measured, debate arose between women with children, who tentatively suggested that there might be some merit in a measure that counteracted the prohibitively high cost of childcare in Ireland, and women without children, who felt that they would be disadvantaged.
It is clear that this is intended purely as an economic rather than an equality measure. Its source, an IMF staff position note entitled Lifting Euro Area Growth: Priorities for Structural Reforms and Governance, recognises that the implicit tax on the gross income of second earners in Austria, France, Ireland and the Slovak Republic tops 70% and creates a barrier to re-entry into the workforce. The IMF estimates that "cutting labour income taxes paid by women by five percentage points would increase the GDP level by 1¾ percentage points, for a fiscal cost of ½ percentage point of GDP", a cost benefit analysis that is difficult to ignore.
The document also recommends better childcare support, although no specific details are given. A similar economic argument was used by the Norwegian government in 2004 when it introduced very effective gender quotas for the boards of publicly quoted companies. Arguing that diversity creates wealth, Ansgar Gabrielsen, then the Norwegian trade and industry minister, wrote a law requiring private firms to have at least 40% women on their boards into the Public Limited Companies Act rather than the Gender Equality Act, reasoning that Norway could not afford to ignore the talent inherent in half its population.
Leaving aside economic justification, any proposal that goes some way towards reforming the unequal employment environment that prevails in Ireland deserves serious consideration. Lowering income tax by five percentage points would go some way towards closing the gender pay gap of 8% that persists even when equivalent educational qualifications and responsibility are taken into account. Significant enactment of equality legislation has failed to achieve this.
The difficulties that undoubtedly exist in persuading productive women back into the workforce after childbirth have contributed to a situation where women account for just one in five management positions in Irish SMEs. The family unfriendly nature of the workplace spills over into the political and public service arenas too. Just 14% of elected representatives in the Irish parliament are women and women account for less than one quarter of Irish senior civil servants.
Blunt instruments such as gender quotas and differentiated rates of taxation are often decried as unfair or discriminatory. Yet decades of progressive equality legislation and cultural change have failed to remove the barriers that prevent women from realising their true potential. To effectively tackle the endemic under-participation of women at every level, and benefit from resulting societal and economic progress, we need radical step changes. There is evidence of an increasing political will to introduce the more equitable childcare and parental leave models pioneered by Nordic countries but this will take time. An instantly implementable policy such as the proposed tax break may prove to be a worthwhile and widely beneficial short-term measure.
Juvenile Court May Order Retroactive Child Support If Parentage Action Filed by Child's 23rd Birthday
2003-2116 and 2003-2183. Carnes v. Kemp, 2004-Ohio-7107.
Auglaize App. No. 2-03-10 , 2003-Ohio-5884. Judgment reversed and cause remanded.
Moyer, C.J., Resnick, F.E. Sweeney, Pfeifer and O'Connor, JJ., concur.
Lundberg Stratton and O'Donnell, JJ., dissent.
Opinion: http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/rod/newpdf/0/2004/2004-Ohio-7107.pdf Adobe PDF
Please note: Opinion summaries are prepared by the Office of Public Information for the general public and news media. Opinion summaries are not prepared for every opinion released by the Court, but only for those cases considered noteworthy or of great public interest. Opinion summaries are not to be considered as official headnotes or syllabi of Court opinions. The full text of this and other Court opinions from 1992 to the present are available online from the Reporter of Decisions. In the Full Text search box, enter the eight-digit case number at the top of this summary and click "Submit."
(Dec. 30, 2004) The Supreme Court of Ohio ruled today that a juvenile court has jurisdiction to award retroactive child support payments to an adult emancipated child if a parentage action is filed prior to the child's 23rd birthday.
In a 5-2 decision written by Justice Francis E. Sweeney Sr., the Court held that the Auglaize County Juvenile Court was acting within its jurisdiction when it ordered Barrett Kemp II to pay more than $52,000 in retroactive child support to Jessica Schaefer, his biological daughter.
In 2001, after her 18th birthday, Schaefer located Kemp through an Internet search and provided information about him to the Auglaize County Child Support Enforcement Agency. Subsequent DNA tests established a 99.99 percent probability that Kemp was Schaefer's father. In February 2003, when Schaefer was 20 years old, the juvenile court ordered Kemp to pay her more than $52,000 in retroactive child support for the years prior to her 18th birthday.
Kemp appealed that order to the 3rd District Court of Appeals, which reversed the lower court's ruling on the basis that a juvenile court lacked jurisdiction to award retroactive child support to Schaefer because she did not seek support until after she turned 18, the age at which Kemp's legal obligation to provide child support had terminated.
Schaefer appealed the 3rd District's decision to the Supreme Court, which accepted jurisdiction to resolve divergent rulings by several courts of appeals on this issue.
Writing for the Court in today's decision, Justice Sweeney considered but rejected the rationale of the 3rd District in this case and its reliance on a 1997 appellate decision from Hamilton County, Snider v. Lillie , which held that "(t)here is no provision in R.C. Chapter 3111 that provides for retroactive child support to an adult child. Since the legal duty to support exists only during the child's age of minority, the support action must be commenced before the child turns 18."
Instead, Justice Sweeney cited with approval decisions by five other courts of appeals which found that, when R.C. 3111.05, which extends the statute of limitations for filing parentage actions to age 23, is read in conjunction with R.C. 3111.13, which gives juvenile courts authority to order retroactive child support, "it appears that the legislature envisioned an award of retroactive child support to an adult emancipated child under R.C. 3111."
"R.C. 3111.05 expressly provides that a paternity action may be commenced up to age 23, five years after the child has reached age 18. R.C. 3111.13(C) provides that a juvenile court has the authority to make a support order once a parentage determination is made. Thus, R.C. 3111.05 extends the length of time in which to bring a parentage action, while R.C. 3111.13(C) is couched in broad language and does not limit a juvenile court's jurisdiction in a parentage action to award retroactive support to minor children only," Justice Sweeney wrote.
"Not only does the statutory language dictate this result, but we also believe that since the law specifically allows a child age 18 to 23 to file a paternity action, noncustodial parents should be accountable to their children up until the child's 23rd birthday and should not be able to shirk their responsibility as parents simply because the child may not have contacted or found the parent during the child's younger years," he concluded.
Justice Sweeney's opinion was joined by Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer and Justices Alice Robie Resnick, Paul E. Pfeifer and Maureen O'Connor.
Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton entered a dissent in which she disputed the majority opinion that a juvenile court has the authority to award retroactive child support to a child who files after reaching the age of majority. She recognized that the parentage statute analyzed by the majority expressly provides that an adult can seek his or her parentage. However, she also recognized that the parentage statute is silent regarding the right of an adult to collect retroactive child support. and said she believes that the majority reached its conclusion by improperly interpreting the parentage statute in pari materia (by reading it together with) child support statutes.
"Juvenile courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and their powers are created by statute. R.C. 2151.23 defines that jurisdiction but refers only to a support order for a 'child,' which is defined as 'a person who is under eighteen years of age,' R.C. 2151.011(B)(5), while an adult is defined as 'an individual who is eighteen years of age or older.' R.C. 2151.011(B)(2)," Justice Stratton wrote. Therefore, Justice Stratton said she believes that these statutes provide no right for an adult to seek retroactive child support.
Justice Terrence O'Donnell joined Justice Stratton's opinion and also entered a separate dissent in which he disputed the majority's interpretation of the General Assembly's intent when creating R.C. 3111.05 and R.C. 3111.13(C). "The different views expressed among appellate districts recognize the difficulty of determining legislative intent and suggest to me that this is a matter of state policy better left to the legislative branch of government for resolution," Justice O'Donnell wrote.
Byron Bonar, 937.325.5991, for Jessica Schaefer.
Max Kravitz, 614.464.2000, for Barrett Kemp II.
Top judge says mothers should have children taken away if they don't let fathers see them
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 1:26 AM on 27th November 2010
Mothers who refuse to let separated fathers see their children should have them taken away, a senior family court judge said yesterday.
The children should be handed over to the full time care of the father if the mother persistently defies court orders, Mr Justice Coleridge said.
He called for a 'three strikes and you're out rule' by which children would be taken away if mothers ignored three court orders.
The judge said that family courts are losing their authority because so many people take no notice of their judgments.
Around 5,000 new cases a year come before the family courts in which parents - almost always mothers - defy orders to let the other parent have contact.
Judges are extremely reluctant to jail such mothers because of the damaging effects on the children, so many continue to get away with it.
Mr Justice Coleridge, 61, said: 'If I were to call it three strikes and you're out it sounds insensitive but something like it perhaps should be the norm.'
He added that occasionally it might be necessary to send a mother to jail.
Would-be glamour girl who cried rape to clear drug debt is jailed for 18 months
By Andrew Levy
Last updated at 3:00 PM on 20th November 2010
A young woman who had ambitions of becoming a glamour model falsely accused a man of raping her as part of a 'wicked' scam to clear her £3,000 drug debt.
Samantha Merry, 21, claimed that she had been sexually assaulted by the man in a brutal attack which allegedly happened in front of a group of people.
Her victim was arrested in front of his partner and their children at 4am and driven to a police station where intimate swabs were taken and he was held in a cell for 23 hours.
He remained on bail for 15 weeks with the threat of a lengthy jail term hanging over him while officers investigated the allegations.
Merry, of Great Baddow, near Chelmsford, Essex, is believed to have made up the allegation after her drug dealer offered to cancel the debt if she took action against the man because he had a grudge against him.
It was only after CCTV footage came to light that proved the man could not have attacked Merry that he was cleared, Chelmsford Crown Court heard.
Merry, an office junior, admitted perverting the course of justice and was jailed for 18 months yesterday.
Judge Anthony Goldstaub, QC, told her: 'Your motivation was entirely for your financial benefit in exchange for the victim's imprisonment.
'As a result, your victim's life became the stuff of which nightmares are made. He remained under suspicion and on bail, expecting prosecution and fearing imprisonment for this crime.'
Judge Goldstaub told her that her lies could stop genuine rape victims coming forward for fear they would not be believed.
The court heard that Merry claimed she was attacked on March 3 this year.
She made a detailed 13-page statement, leading to a case that cost Essex Police thousands of pounds, including 235 man hours and £3,700 on forensic tests.
CCTV footage later revealed that she had lied and on June 14 she was arrested.
Richard Stevens, prosecuting, said: 'She said she had a drugs debt of £3,000 involving crack cocaine. The dealer had told her to accuse the victim of rape and it was her hope that doing so might wipe her debt.'
Paul Donnegan, defending, said his client had no previous criminal record and had suffered abuse in the street since she admitted to lying.
But the judge turned down pleas to spare her prison, saying it was a 'careful and wicked deception'.
He added: 'Some might say if you try to send someone to prison for five or six years you really deserve to go to prison yourself. The effect on the victim is appalling. It was premeditated and mercenary.'
Merry uses the nickname Sexy Sam on her Myspace page on which she writes: 'Before I met my boyfriend I wanted to get in to some kind of modeling [sic]'.
She adds that her ambition is to meet Katie Price.
After the case, Chief Inspector Joe Wrigley said: 'Justice has been done and I hope it serves as a warning to anyone who would want to make a false allegation.'
Ruby Ann Ruffolo's seven-year murder trial ends in guilty verdict and life in jail
By Louise Dickson, timescolonist.com November 19, 2010
After seven years of legal wrangling, Ruby Ann Ruffolo of Saanich was found guilty of the first-degree murder of her husband Thursday and sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 25 years.
The Victoria courtroom, filled with John Ruffolo's extended family and friends, burst into applause after B.C. Supreme Court Justice Mary Humphries took her seat and immediately announced she had found Ruffolo guilty of killing John by sedating him with amitriptyline and injecting him with a lethal dose of heroin on Oct. 19, 2003.
Ruffolo, 54, who appeared nervous and teary-eyed as she sat in the prisoner's box before the verdict, gasped and lowered her head. Behind her, in the front row, the couple's 20-year-old daughter, Jovanna, sobbed in the arms of a friend.
During her trial, which was plagued by delays over two years, the Crown argued that Ruffolo loathed her husband and wanted him dead. John had asked her for a divorce and she was worried she would never get her share of the money the couple had invested in four rental properties. The Crown also believed Ruby blamed John for her son's suicide in 2002.
The court heard that Ruffolo tried to hire two people to kill her husband. When that failed, she mixed amitriptyline into his protein shake, then injected him with a fatal overdose of heroin. Ruffolo and her tenant, Vivian Kirkland, dragged John's body out to the driveway but could not lift him into a car. Ruffolo then drove to Victoria and asked painter Robert Johnson to help her with some "heavy lifting." But when Johnson saw John's body in the driveway, he backed away, refusing to help.
Ruffolo and Kirkland asked another tenant, Doug Murray, to help load the body in the car. Ruffolo, with Kirkland in the passenger seat, drove off, with John's feet sticking out the window. They drove to Humpback Road in Langford and rolled his body into a broken culvert. The body was discovered by a hiker on Oct. 25.
Ruffolo testified that she had nothing to do with her husband's death. She denied all the evidence of Johnson, Kirkland and Murray. Defence witness Randolph Whitman testified that Kirkland and Murray told him John had gone into hiding from drug dealers on Oct. 19. At a party later that week, he asked Kirkland to inject him with heroin and died.
After reviewing the evidence, Humphries decided that although there were frailties and inconsistencies in the testimony of Johnson, Kirkland and Murray, their evidence was credible.
"I am satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that John Ruffolo died on Oct. 19, 2003 at his home. Ms. Ruffolo had a motive to kill her husband and the opportunity to inject him with heroin," said Humphries.
Prosecutor Scott Van Alstine read out victim impact statements, describing the great sadness felt by John's mother, Lois, his father, Mario, and his sisters, Sarina and Mena.
"The accused's act of killing John Ruffolo was evil and motivated by hatred and greed," said Van Alstine. "The penalty about to be pronounced is fit and just. John Ruffolo lost that which was most valuable and irreplaceable, his life."
Both Ruffolo and her lawyer, David Lyon, turned down an opportunity to address the court.
Ruffolo was allowed to hug her distraught daughter, then placed in handcuffs and led out of the courtroom to begin her sentence.
Jovanna, who is estranged from her father's family, left court with her friend.
Outside the courthouse, Lois Ruffolo described the last seven years as a nightmare.
"There's no win for our family. We've still lost John," said his sister Mena Westhaver. "John was a loving person, an exceptional person. He had his whole life ahead of him. He didn't deserve to die at 36."
Although the wheels of justice moved slowly, Ruffolo's life is going to be served in prison, said Van Alstine. "It's a strong penalty. It's harsh, perhaps. But does it equal the life of John Ruffolo? No."
Saanich police Sgt. Glen MacKenzie, the lead investigator, described the process as a long and arduous journey.
"At the end, it's a lose-lose situation. A daughter lost her father. Sisters lost their brother and parents lost their son because one person was evil and out for her own personal gain, be it greed or jealousy. She took it upon herself to take a life. She planned it out. She bought heroin. It was an evil act."
Women's 'double shift' of work and domestic duties a myth finds new research
Feminists are wrong to claim that men should do a larger share of the housework and childcare because on average, men and women already do the same number of hours of productive work. In fact, if we consider the hours spent doing both paid work and unpaid household, care and voluntary work together, men already do more than their fair share, argues LSE sociologist Catherine Hakim in a special issue of Renewal: a journal of social democracy.
Until recently, unpaid work such as childcare and domestic work has been hard to quantify and so mostly ignored by social scientists and policy makers. The development of Time Use Surveys across the European Union, however, has provided data on exactly how much time we spend carrying out both paid and unpaid productive activities. The findings show that on average women and men across Europe do the same total number of productive work hours once paid jobs and unpaid household duties are added together - roughly eight hours a day.
Catherine Hakim said: 'We now have a much more specific and accurate portrait of how families and individuals divide their "work" and this data overturns the well-entrenched theory that women work disproportional long hours in jobs and at home in juggling family and work. Feminists constantly complain that men are not doing their fair share of domestic work. The reality is that most men already do more than their fair share.'
While men carry out substantially more hours of paid work, women will often choose to scale down their hours of paid employment to make time for household work when starting a family. In Britain, men are shown to actually work longer hours on average than women, as many will work overtime to boost family income when the children are at home while wives switch to part-time jobs or drop out of employment altogether.
Couples with no children at home and with both in full-time jobs emerge as the only group where women work more hours in total than men, once paid and unpaid work hours are added up.
The article argues that in societies where genuine choices are open to women, the key driver to how work is divided comes down to lifestyle preference, not gender. Individuals fall into three categories: work-centred, home-centred or wanting to combine work and family (adaptive). 80% of women fall into the adaptive category, Catherine Hakim finds, with only 20% wanting a work-centred lifestyle.
Despite this, most European policies are geared towards full-time worker carers and ignore unpaid work, although there are several countries that are starting to support family work. Finland, for example, operates a homecare allowance system that is paid to any parent who stays at home without using state nurseries, effectively paying the carer for their work. In Germany, the income-splitting tax system for couples recognises the work done by full-time homemakers by aggregating and then splitting the spouses earnings between into two halves, reflecting the idea that both benefit from the home/work arrangement.
'Instead of looking for the one 'best option' policy, governments should offer several', says Catherine Hakim. 'One-sided policies that support employment and careers but ignore the productive work done in the family are, in effect, endorsing market place values over family values. But the altruistic and community values embraced by home-centred or adaptive individuals, such as sharing, trust and cohesion, are equally as important to a social democracy.
'Furthermore, there is evidence that men are beginning to demand the same options and choices as women, with more claims of sex discrimination from men. Policy makers need to be aiming for gender-neutral policies that cater for all three main lifestyle choices.'
(How) can social policy and fiscal policy recognise unpaid family work? by Catherine Hakim is published in a special issue of Renewal: a journal of social democracy, out now.
A copy of the final report can be found here (PDF).
Dr Catherine Hakim, LSE, 020 7955 6655, email: [email protected]|
Jess Winterstein, LSE Press Office, 020 7107 5025, email: [email protected]|
The special issue of Renewal: a journal of social democracy aims to contribute to the modernisation of the Labour Party that is necessary for it to win at the polls and begin the process of transforming British society. Other articles in this issue question market values and market rationality.
Ad campaign targets men who prey on drunken women
By Andrea Sands, edmontonjournal.com November 20, 2010 6:42 AM
EDMONTON -- A bold new advertising campaign will warn young men that extremely drunk or unconscious women can't consent to sex.
The Don't Be That Guy campaign, announced Friday by a coalition of groups fighting sexual assault, will target men aged 18 to 24 using print and transit advertising, as well as ads posted above the urinals inside bar washrooms, said police Supt. Danielle Campbell.
"The advertisements use graphic language, disturbing images to communicate one bottom-line message: Sex without consent is sexual assault," Campbell said.
"For those of you who choose to be That Guy, that opportunistic offender, know this -- the Edmonton Police Service has the subject-matter experts to investigate these matters and we will hold you accountable for the crime you commit."
In one ad, a man is helping a woman to a black car at night, and text underneath the photo reads: "Just because you help her home ... doesn't mean you get to help yourself." In another ad, a woman in a black dress is passed out, face down on a couch, with three liquor bottles lined up on the floor nearby. The text reads: "Just because she isn't saying no ... doesn't mean she's saying yes."
A third ad will be strategically placed only in men's bathrooms in 26 bars around the city. That one reads: "Just because she's drunk doesn't mean she wants to f***."
The three advertisements were chosen after focus-group testing showed the messages were clearly understood by, and resonated with, young men.
Campbell said she hopes the "graphic" and "blunt" messages make a real difference in educating young men and reducing sexual assaults.
In 2009, alcohol was a factor in half the cases investigated by the police sexual assault section, said Campbell. In the first six months of this year, 52 per cent of cases investigated, involving 153 victims, had alcohol as a factor, she said.
"In each of these cases, the victims were clearly intoxicated ... in some cases passed out at the time of the sexual assault. In each and every case, the offender was known to the victim," Campbell said.
"A person that is drunk or passed out cannot give consent."
A study out of the United Kingdom this month involving men ages 18 to 25 showed that 48 per cent did not consider it rape if the woman was too drunk to know what was happening, Campbell said.
The Don't Be That Guy campaign was designed after members of SAVE (Sexual Assault Voices of Edmonton) discovered a troubling trend among sexual assault cases in this city. SAVE is made up of various groups including the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton, Responsible Hospitality Edmonton and Edmonton police.
"Our organizations know that the vast majority of alcohol-facilitated sexual assaults are committed by young men between the ages of 18 and 24, and the vast majority of victims of this crime are young women," said Karen Smith of the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton.
Most sexual-assault campaigns focus on providing prevention tips for women, Smith said. "Tips just reinforce the myth that women are somehow responsible for anticipating and preventing sexual violence.
"This innovative SAVE committee believes that, as long as society directs prevention strategies at women, we all stop looking at what the real problem is -- the perpetrators."
Handball coach sentenced over teen love
A former handball manager has been given a suspended sentence for starting a relationship with a teenager.
Renata C. pleaded guilty and accepted the 22-month suspended prison sentence in Wiener Neustadt's Provincial Court yesterday (Weds).
The 42-year-old was sacked as coach of a local handball youth team after it emerged that one of the players was sleeping with her.
The teenager's stepdad Stefan U. informed police after his son admitted to him that he was having a relationship with the woman.
Prosecutors decided to take Renata C. to court since the boy was 13 years old when they started dating. The woman would not have faced a trial had they waited half a year since 14 years of age is the legal watershed for relationships with adults for young people in Austria.
The unnamed teenager, who was called to the witness stand yesterday, recently moved in with the former handball coach. His mother Judith U. accepts the relationship, according to reports.
Government drive for more women on company boards
# guardian.co.uk, Sunday 7 November 2010 18.46 GMT
Companies could be compelled to ensure that at least 40% of their directors are women under one option being considered by a government review, it has been revealed.
Lord Davies of Abersoch, a former trade minister who is drawing up proposals for ministers, said that imposing a quota was one of the options that he was examining and that the level would have to be set at 30% or 40% to make a real difference.
The Labour peer, who is a former chairman of Standard Chartered, was invited by the government in August to develop a strategy to increase the number of women on the boards of British companies. David Cameron raised this as an issue during the general election, and the coalition has highlighted research showing that in 2009 only 12.2% of FTSE 100 companies, and only 7.3% of FTSE 250 companies, were women.
Davies is still consulting on the issue, and his proposals are not due to go to ministers until the end of the year, but in the Sunday Times yesterday he said that compulsion would be one option.
"What we need is a fundamental change in the attitude of chairmen in terms of board representation," he said.
"There is a range of options. One of them is to bring in a direct quota or a timeline that leads to a quota. My view is that to say 20% of people on a board should be women is not enough. It has to be 30% or 40% to make a real change."
Davies said there would be no need for quotas if companies were to voluntarily increase the number of female directors they appoint. But he said that that would require "radical change" and that the pressure would have to come from shareholders. "They are the owners of the company and they should want the boards to represent their workforce and society."
Some countries already have a quota. In Norway it is set at 40%.
As part of his terms of reference, Davies was asked to consider the obstacles to women becoming company directors, as well as international practice in this area. His report will be presented to Vince Cable, the business secretary, and Lynne Featherstone, the equalities minister.
The coalition has said that its "aspiration" is for half of the new appointees to the boards of public bodies to be women by 2015.
He's upset that some poor slob with get $3.77 of his money so they can eat breakfast, but he doesn't seem to mind if rich bankers get $700 billion.