Each year Cranfield University compile a report on the numbers of females at board level in FTSE 100 companies. In the UK the figure for the percentage of female board members has plateaued at about 12% since 2008 and in the US it has plateaued at about 14-15%.
There were 155 female held directorships, out of 1092, in the FTSE 100 in 2010; 21 of which were executive directors and 134 were non-executive directors. The top ranking board in the FTSE 100 was Burberry with 3 out of its 8 directors female and in second place was Diageo with 4 out of its 11 directors female (note this is the only board with 4 females). There are 14 boards in the FTSE 100 with no females, and in the FTSE 250 it’s even worse with just under 50% of boards being all male.
Time for Change
The introduction to the most recent report, by Theresa May MP and Vince Cable MP, said;
Promoting equality of opportunity and equal treatment for women isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s also crucial to our country’s economic success.
Women bring fresh ideas, perspectives and experiences. As a woman in business I’m keen to understand why women are not achieving board level, I also appreciate it is not all down to men and women need to help themselves. The debate goes on as to how equality is achieved, everyone should achieve based on merit and this is why the idea of gender quotas is distasteful to many, including me. There are no clear answers as to which gender diversity initiatives achieve positive results but we need to keep working at it to encourage and empower women enabling them to achieve their full potential.