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Dame Helena Morrissey: boards are better but the job’s not done

Dame Helena Morrissey rejects any claims that she is the ‘superwoman’ we so often see her described as by the press. Despite changing the face of the top boards in British business, heading up the Diversity Project, managing billions in her latest role at L&G, and juggling life as a mother of nine, Helena insists she just enjoys keeping busy. On Sunday night she spoke to Seven Hills co-founder Michael on the #CapitalConversation, about her personal motivations to help improve people’s lives.

Seven years ago Helena founded the 30% Club, an initiative which set out to increase the number of women at the board level of the FTSE 100 companies. “The great thing about the 30% Club is that it has been all about men and women working together.” In the interview, Helena revealed “much of the work has been done”, as the gender balance on the top boards has increased to 27% since it was founded in 2010.

The genuine desire to improve diversity is underlying in all of Helena’s work. She says that achieving gender equality on boards was the first, rather than the last step to achieving a fairer workforce. “The ultimate thing with all the diversity work is that difference is valued.”

As the news uncovers the scale of sexual harassment across various sectors, Helena spoke of her own experiences of being harassed, and how the City too represents an area where there is a problematic culture. “The City is a male dominated environment… it is one of those things that is intrinsically problematic. The #MeToo conversation has shown this is much more than about one man or one industry.”

In her latest role at L&G, Helena says she is motivated to help people live better lives by encouraging more women and young people to invest, so that they can improve their wellbeing.  

Helena is working on her book, ‘A Good Time to Be a Girl’, reflective of her own experiences about how over three decades of working in business she finally feels that this is the best time to be a woman.

 You can watch the full version of Helena Morrissey on the Capital Conversation here


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