Alison Inman – Blog for Women in Housing For me, one of the highlights of the inaugural Women in Housing Awards ceremony last year was seeing Wolverhampton Homes' Sue Roberts collect the trophy for 'Most Effective Board Member'. I've known Sue since she joined the National Federation of ALMOs Board in 2009. She has chaired the NFA Board since 2011 as well as leading Wolverhampton Homes to a Three Stars/Excellent Prospects inspection (remember those?) and a new 15 year Management Agreement with Wolverhampton Council. ALMOs have always appeared to have a higher proportion of women Board Members, and women Chairs, than other parts of the housing sector. There is a general acceptance (at long last) that diversity at Board level is just as important as anywhere else within an organisation and it was announced recently that the final all-Male FTSE 100 Board (Glencore plc) has (at long, long, long last!) appointed a woman to the Board. It does, however, beggar belief that in 2014 we are celebrating the appointment of a woman to a Board. Governance is important, and can be difficult, but in my almost thirty years of experience I have never found it to be a gendered activity. The Welsh Housing Minister, Carl Sergeant, recognises this and is also doing something about it. He has called for Housing Associations in Wales to ensure that their Boards are made up of equal numbers of women and men. And, in answer to a question put to him in June this year, hinted that funding from the Welsh Assembly may in future be linked to Board equality. I will watch developments in Wales with interest but, in the meantime, look forward to helping to judge the 'Most Effective Board Member' category at the WIH Awards and to celebrating the enormous contribution women make to the governance of housing organisations across the United Kingdom.
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