Gender equality and diversity

Reaching the 25% target for the FTSE 100 is a significant achievement and major milestone in our longer journey to improving the gender balance at the top of British business. In this report, we reflect on a task well begun, look at progress made, what we have learnt along the way and where to go next.

Each and every month since 2011, the number of women serving on FTSE 350 Boards has steadily increased. Further improvements in gender balance on FTSE boards are within our grasp, assuming the commitment from business leaders and current momentum continues. However, all our stakeholders deserve to take a moment to reflect on their achievements and celebrate in the collective success of British business.

The key drivers to success are expanded on in this report and lessons along the way. Undoubtedly the setting of realistic, achievable and stretching targets for business has been an key driver of progress. In addition, the voluntary business-led approach which joined all stakeholders together in action has been important. And whilst we would all wish for faster progress, the steady and sustained increase in the number of women serving on FTSE boards since 2011, the winning of hearts and minds and over-ridingly supportive stakeholder feedback, all provide clear evidence that the UK’s approach is working.

Women in leadership

The FTSE 350 has more women than ever before serving on their boards, with 550 new women appointments in just over four years. The women come from varied and diverse backgrounds and are making a significant contribution at the top table, to British business and the economy. In 2011 there were 152 all-male boards in the FTSE 350 index, today there are only 15 companies with all-male boards, all in the FTSE 250 – but dwindling.

We are now frequently asked by other countries, what the driving forces are behind the UK’s increase in the number of women on FTSE boards. The UK is admired by many other countries, who whether having adopted voluntary measures or quotas, have achieved far less progress in a similar time-frame. We stand in sixth place in the international ranking, with all of the countries ahead of us, having largely introduced legislative quota regimes.

Click here to read the full report


Do you think gender equality on boards can be achieved?  What are your thoughts on the targets set for FTSE 100 companies?  Share your thoughts using the comments box below.

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