Cracks appear in City glass ceiling, but pay not equal yet

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The Independent Online

Don't put away those hammers yet: the cracks are spreading, but the glass ceiling between women and the top of British business is a long way from shattering.

More women may have made it to the boardrooms of our biggest firms but most are sitting at the wrong end of the table.

The annual survey of FTSE100 boardrooms shows there are only 18 women with senior City jobs. And those who do make it to the top, such as Marjorie Scardino, chief executive of Pearson, tend to have foreign passports. BoardEx, a company that analyses business leaders, says the gender imbalance is diminishing most noticeably among non-executive directors, who are typically less powerful and less well-paid than executive colleagues. Female non-executive directors account for 13.1 per cent of the total, up from 12.8 the year before and 11.3 in 2004. For executive roles, the picture is less encouraging; with only 3.5 per cent of the best jobs held by women, up slightly from last year's 2.9 per cent. Dominick Sutton, of BoardEx, said: "There seems to be a trend from 2004 to now, where the number of female directors has been rising right across the board. I think the glass ceiling is cracking."

Mairi Eastwood of Praesta, which mentors women for promotion, said: "More North American women than UK women are moving into FTSE100 executive positions. While there are more female FTSE100 non-executive directorships, they are spread amongst fewer women than last year."