I REFER to the report by graduate recruitment firm Debut outlining that the Government-led recommendations are not being met with regard to woman representation on major company boards ("Majority of boardrooms fail to meet targets on gender balance", The Herald, November 5).

There can be no doubt that the role of women has been changing dramatically since the end of the Second World War. For generations up till then, and for some time after in some respects, women had fewer economic opportunities, less freedom of movement and less political power and influence. For example, women tended to be nurses rather than doctors, bookkeepers but not accountants. Moreover, they had to leave certain jobs when they got married. Think of the significant changes in professions today, such as law, medicine, veterinary medicine and dentistry. A few years ago it was reported that because of a growing gender gap, Scottish Universities had been told to recruit more male students. Think also of the changes in politics, the armed forces and church ministry.

A Debut spokesman said that "on the whole, things do seem to be improving", so far as the boards of the FTSE-100 are concerned. That is, of course, welcome and it is to be hoped that improvement will continue with steady progress toward parity. The alternative of placing individuals at the table of boardrooms solely because of gender rather than ability would ill-serve our top companies.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.


CLAIRE Mack of Scottish Renewables is suggesting that replacing fossil fuel heating with renewable electricity will solve fuel poverty ("Net-zero energy transition can future-proof our economy", Agenda, The Herald, November 3). This is an odd thing to say because GERS states that annual subsidies to renewables are £6,116 million annually and rising, and this figure doesn't include constraint payments paid to windfarms when they have to shut down or the newer subsidy called Contracts for Difference.

In 2009 President Obama, when commenting on his plans to tackle greenhouse gases, infamously said “electricity rates would necessarily sky-rocket”. This interview is readily available on YouTube.

The wind and sun may be free but renewable energy is anything but.

Geoff Moore, Alness.


AS one who is increasingly dependent on the excellent facilities afforded to many at Glasgow's New Victoria Hospital, I am reluctant to criticise that NHS facility. However, the limitation of car parking, in particular blue badge spaces, raises concern. Frustration further arose when I noted two reserved spaces were barrier-blocked. On closer inspection I noted ashtrays were placed on the timber supports, indicative of a dedicated smoking point.

Such practice flouts the NHS aim to eradicate smoking in any area of its premises and equally denies a badge holder rightful use of a valued parking space.

Allan C Steele, Giffnock.


HARD on the heels of horribly starting sentences with the ubiquitous “So...”, we have what I presume is an Americanism. Experts or guests on BBC radio programmes respond to their introduction with “Thank you for having me". Just get on with it, say “hello” and answer the question. Has worked well for years.

Philip Gaskell, Drymen.