Women making big strides to the top – but there's more to do

 

More women are on boards than ever before, but the UK's listed sector still has further to go to meet next year's target, it was revealed today.

Lord Davies of Abersoch's third annual progress report into Women on Boards yesterday revealed the FTSE 100 still needs a further 48 new women appointments to meet the 25 per cent target for 2015.

There are still two all-male boards on the FTSE 100 – miners Glencore Xstrata and Antofagasta – while on the FTSE 250 there remain 48 all-male boards.

The latest figures show progress has been made – women now account for 20.7 per cent of board positions in the FTSE 100 – up from 12.5 per cent in 2011.

Lord Davies, who first published his report in 2011, said: "The rate of change that we have seen at the heart of our biggest companies over the past three years has been impressive. The voluntary approach is working and companies have got the message that better-balanced boards bring real business benefits.

"However, the eyes of the world are on us as we enter the home straight. They are judging us as to whether the voluntary approach, rather than regulation, will work – we need now to prove we can do this on our own."

Last week a report called Cracking the Code from the 30% Club, which campaigns for 30 per cent women on FTSE 100 boards by 2015, found there were still major barriers for women to move into executive-level jobs and their target would not be met without drastic action.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe, former corporate affairs director at Tesco, who is a non-executive director at ITV, argued: "The issue is not just about women on boards; it concerns women in all parts of a business. "It is about unblocking the career pipeline and allowing women's talents to flourish."

She added: “We need to replace the tired old role models, many of them men, with women such as Karren Brady or the noble Baroness, Lady Lane-Fox, who is in her place. There is a lack of female role models, not only in the public eye but also in the workplace. Part of management training is for line managers to set a good example and be a good role model in their wider organisation.”

Lord Davies’ review was released in conjunction with Cranfield University School of Management’s Female FTSE Board report. The report highlights some companies that are leading the way in terms of the number of women at senior levels.

Drinks giant Diageo and outsourcer Capita were held up as leading examples – with 44.4 per cent female directors. The report also points out that 36 per cent of FTSE 100 companies have reached 25 per cent women representation.

Campaigners for forced quotas for women on boards stand by the argument that without forcing companies to make changes some companies, like Glencore Xstrata and Antofagasta, will not change.

The European Union last year issued a draft plan for boards to become two-fifths female by 2020 but the plan still needs the backing of EU members states.

The UK has used Lord Davies report as a target in place of quotas.

Business secretary Vince Cable said: “More needs to done to improve the number of women in executive positions. These will be the CEOs of tomorrow and businesses still aren’t tapping into the vast talent pool available to them.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operations Manager

£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there