THE battle to eradicate sexism in British boardrooms still has a significant way to go before true parity exists between male and female directors, despite the number of female directors in the FTSE100 having almost doubled in the last four years.
According to new government statistics, women currently represent 23.5% of FTSE 100 board members, up from 12.5% in 2011.
Former trade minister Lord Davies said “the voluntary approach is working – boards are getting fixed” meaning that uplift was a positive indicator that companies are on track to hit his 25% target for 2015.
But while 263 female directors are now in the FTSE 100, another 17 women will still need to be employed in the next two months in order to make the 25% target.
Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, Denise Wilson, from Lord Davies Women on Board Steering Group, said achieving the goal was always going to be the “toughest nut to crack” and that the end-game was “a journey of small steps”.
FTSE 250 firms fared less well with women accounting for under a fifth of board directors at 18% – yet this was still up from just 7.8% in 2011.
Published alongside the figures is Cranfield University School of Management’s annual benchmarking report which revealed that 41 FTSE 100 firms and 65 in the FTSE 250 had now successfully achieved its 25% target.
The UK was ranked fifth globally in its progress, the Cranfield report found.
Meanwhile, larger employers with over 250 staff, will now have to publish the size of bonuses awarded to both men and women in a determined bid to slash the gender pay gap.
The proposed requirements will apply equally to the public sector as well as private and voluntary sector employers.