A club for businesswomen in Britain sparked feminist outrage when they appointed a male boss to be their chairman. Activists see this as a promotion of the patriarchy; the group sees it as allowing men to be "part of the solution," reports Reuters.
The private members club in London, AllBright, boasts many acclaimed female entrepreneurs and talents such as actresses Naomie Harris and Ruth Wilson, along with tech entrepreneur Martha Lane-Fox. After appointing the former head of the Asda supermarket group, Allan Leighton, as chairman, feminists said the group had hurt its mission, an accusation AllBright rejects.
"AllBright is all about celebrating and championing women, but it’s also about bringing enlightened men on the journey with us,” said founders Debbie Wosskow and Anna Jones in a statement, adding, "Most importantly, we recognize that having Allan on board demonstrates the need for men like him to be part of the solution in helping to change the economic landscape for women - this is the only way that real change is going to happen."
Six percent of the biggest publicly-listed companies in Britain are headed by women.
Seyi Newell, a spokeswoman for women’s rights group Rosa, said the group missed an opportunity by not appointing a woman at the top.
“It would have been great to see a strategic, smart and enthusiastic woman at the helm of such a powerful and change-making organization,” Newell said. "We don’t see nearly enough women in those positions so this seems like a missed opportunity."
Nicola Miller, founder of A Mile In Her Shoes, a charity helping homeless women, said the AllBright group has become a "part of the problem" by not appointing a woman.
"In an organization about promoting women in business leadership, if you could find no suitable female candidates to put at the top, then you’re part of the problem, not the solution," tweeted Miller.