Gender gap narrows
The proportion of female directors in the FTSE 350 has hit a 33pc target for the first time
MORE than a third of FTSE 350 board positions are now filled by women for the first time, data has revealed.
The majority of companies have achieved the government-backed goal of ensuring women make up 33pc of board members.
Meanwhile, female representation at the top of business rose by 3.8pc in the last year, the figures showed.
However, 41pc of companies have not yet reached the 33pc target, prompting the Business Secretary to call on them to ensure it is achieved by the end of December.
Alok Sharma said: “While I am pleased that the FTSE 350 as a whole has finally hit this historic landmark, more than 100 of the UK’s top companies have failed to meet the target.
“Research shows that diverse leadership teams are more innovative and make better decisions.
“As the UK economy continues to recover from coronavirus, increasing representation of women on boards represents a golden opportunity not only to rebuild, but build back better.”
Chris Cummings, chief executive of the Investment Association, said the “laggards” who have not reached the target need to pull their weight.
“Although good progress has been made with many companies recently appointing additional women to their boards and senior leadership teams, some laggards remain,” he said.
In February, the Investment Association
and the Hampton-Alexander Review jointly wrote to around 40 companies in the FTSE 350 with one woman or less on their board, outlining concerns about the lack of gender diversity.
Companies are required to submit gender data on the Hampton-Alexander Review website every year.
Denise Wilson OBE, chief executive of the Hampton-Alexander Review, said it was positive to see that the Covid-19 crisis had not significantly affected progress in ensuring women are represented at the top of business.
“Recognising the significant impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic on all business activities, it is encouraging to see the number of women at the top of British business continue to increase,” she said. “This confirms the UK’s business-led voluntary approach is working and the benefits of diversity are being recognised, with business seeking more than ever those with fresh energy, new ideas and diverse perspectives.”
In the FTSE 250, there were 152 allmale boards in 2011, which has now fallen to only one.