Women on Boards
Aims and objectives
In August 2010 Lord Davies of Abersoch was tasked by the government to lead a review into how obstacles can be removed to allow more women to reach Board level positions in organisations. Following a wide consultation, his first report on 'Women on Boards' was published in February 2011, recommending a voluntary business-led strategy to bring about a culture change at the heart of business and thereby increase the number of women on boards across the UK. The onus was firmly placed on business to bring about this change.
Results and impact
In October 2011 Cranfield University published a six month progress report detailing the developments made following the Women on Boards recommendations. It found that 61 of the FTSE 100 companies responded to the Lord Davies review, acknowledging that gender diversity is an issue, with 33 setting themselves the target for the percentage of women they aim to have on their boards. The April 2013 progress report on Women on Boards finds that Women now account for 17.3% of FTSE 100 and 13.2% of FTSE 250 board directors, up from 12.5% and 7.8% in 2011 (an increase of nearly 40%.) Whereas in 2010, women comprised 10.5% of FTSE 100 board members and 6.7% of those in the FTSE 250, the percentage of female held board appointments has increased by nearly 50%. Women constitute 34% of all FTSE 100, and 36% of FTSE 250 board appointments since March 2012, and only 6 all-male boards remain in the FTSE 100, down from 21 in 2010.
Department for Business, Innovation & Skills; Department for Culture, Media & Sport; Government Equalities Office
The 2011 review recommended that UK listed companies in the FTSE 100 should aim for a minimum of 25% female board member representation by 2015. It also recommended that FTSE 350 companies should set their own challenging targets. It called on chairpersons to announce these goals within six months of the report. In March 2012, the first annual progress report on the review of Women on Boards was published, followed by a second annual report in April 2013, which track the progress made against each of the ten original recommendations of 2011. The government also set a new aspiration that by the end of the current Parliament 50 per cent of all new appointments to public boards will be women.