London, Mar.26 : Women bosses are more likely than men to discriminate against female employees with children, claims Sir Alan Sugar, executive chairman of Amstrad and Viglen, while discussing the issue of working women and the provision of childcare.
"Be under no illusion. There are women employers who are more ruthless than men. They are more conscious of not employing other women because they feel they're not going to get the value of work out of them," The Times quoted him, as saying.
He also said that he thought it right that women were asked about their plans to have children and how they expected to look after their children while at work.
"Companies have no divine duty to help with childcare. Companies employ people. It's the Government's responsibility to provide childcare. You pay a person a salary and they cut their cloth accordingly," he said.
Sir Alan has been criticised for arguing that equality laws make it more difficult for women to find jobs.
Women bosses fought back last night. Erika Watson, the executive director of Prowess, an association for women entrepeneurs, said of Sir Alan's comments: "It's dinosaur attitudes like those that really threaten the UK's competitiveness. Too many talented women are not achieving their potential in the workplace because of the discrimination such attitudes encourage. Bar a couple of extremists - wheeled out by the press on such occasions - those views certainly don't reflect the views of our female business leaders."
Glenda Stone, who co-chairs the Government's Women's Enterprise Task Force and is chief executive of the Aurora marketing company, said: "Women employers are looking for the best person for the job, and if that is a woman with kids that's fine. When men are ruthless they are seen as assertive. But when females are - to use Sir Alan's word - ruthless, they are seen as aggressive."
This month Sir Alan said that he did not regret having criticised rules that bar employers from asking job applicants if they plan to have children. He said: "I don't want to be dragged into a debate about stupid EU employment rules. I do what I want in that boardroom and if they [the candidates] don't like it, they can p*** off."