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Female board representation improves

Just over a year has passed since Lord Davies published his report which included a series of recommendations aimed at increasing the number of female directors in UK public companies.

A recent study undertaken by Cranfield University indicates that since Lord Davies’ report was published in February 2011, there have been some inroads made towards increassing the number of UK female directors. The study showed that in the past twelve months:

  • women on boards of FTSE 100 companies has increased from 12.5% to 15.6% and the number of all male-boards has decreased from 21 to 11;
  • FTSE 250 companies have increased female board representation from 7.8% to 9.6% and the number of all male-boards has decreased from 52.5% to 44.8%.

In his report of February 2011, Lord Davies recommended a target of 25% for female representation on the boards of the UK FTSE companies; to be implemented by 2015.  If the current progress was to continue, the recommended target of 25% would be achieved by 2015.

Despite the positive improvements, Lord Davies has expressed the need to keep working towards the target: “Over the last year some excellent progress has been made. We’ve seen a significant increase in the percentage of female board appointments and the number of all-male boards has halved. I believe we’re on a steady journey towards our 25% target, but the reality is that a lot more still needs to be done.’

The increase in the proportion of female directors in a single annual period is the biggest ever achieved and has been attained without the government introducing any mandatory quotas on companies. 

The progress has been hailed by Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Theresa May who said: “I’m delighted by this unprecedented progress. While there’s still much to be done, today we should celebrate just how far we have come. It is particularly encouraging that this progress has been led by businesses. Government has put in place the framework, but it’s companies themselves who are seeing that they simply cannot afford to ignore the skills and talent of half the population.’

If you need legal advice on company law, including the appointment of new company directors, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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