Women in the boardroom

On 24 February 2011, Lord Davies reported on his independent review on the subject of women in the boardroom. Current trends show that in the top FTSE 100 companies women hold only 12.5% of the directorships.

Lord Davies is recommending in his report for government that UK listed companies in the FTSE 100 should be aiming for a minimum of 25% female board member representation by 2015. He has also recommended that FTSE 350 companies should be setting their own, challenging targets. However, the report stops short of calling for quotas to be set by the government as is the case in some other countries.

The report makes the point that research has shown “inclusive and diverse boards are more likely to be effective boards, better able to understand their customers and stakeholders and to benefit from fresh perspectives, new ideas, vigorous challenge and broad experience. This in turn leads to better decision making”.

This highly debated report has put the spotlight back on gender equality, especially at senior levels of company structures. Although quotas are unlikely to be an outcome of the report, recruiters should not be shy about looking at their own corporate structures. If it is found that the male to female ratio is unbalanced in the senior levels of the company, perhaps recruiters could look to review their processes so there is support to enable talented female employees to achieve promotion in the future. Here one would perhaps bear in mind our article on positive discrimination. 

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