The progress has been revealed in the annual report from Lord Davies of Abersoch, though its slightly lower than the 25 per cent target he set in the original report back in 2011 when it was commissioned by business secretary Vince Cable.
Talking up the development, Cable said: “We must celebrate this outstanding achievement and the change in culture that is taking hold at the heart of British business. The evidence is irrefutable: boards with a healthy female representation outperform their male-dominated rivals.
“I am confident we will reach our target this year, but our work is not complete. British business must keep its eye on the long game, as we strive to achieve gender parity. We have made good progress in the last four years, and if we continue this trend in the next parliament, I would expect to exceed a third of female representation by 2020.
“We know that’s where the tipping point lies in influencing decision-making. We must also focus on ensuring women are rising fast enough through the pipeline and taking up executive positions. Companies must harness all available talent – diverse senior management pools are vital to securing the future corporate competitiveness of the UK.”
A previous study found that women are more than able to take top jobs, harnessing the required skills, but the problem is that they’re not using that knowledge to progress.
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“We only need 17 more women to be appointed to these boards and we will have met the 25 per cent target we set ourselves. When we started this work in 2011 there were 21 FTSE 100 boards that had no women on them. Now there are no all-male boards left. This is great news,” said Nicky Morgan, minister for women and equalities.
“But to keep on track we also need to ensure that women are well represented at senior executive level too, making them ready to take up board level positions. In the FTSE 100, the total number of female senior executives has increased from 19.9 per cent to 21 per cent which is to be welcomed, but we need to keep up the pressure to see this increase still further.
“This is not only good for women, but good for business too. Boards which reflect their customers and clients are better able to understand their needs and respond to them.”
Know any inspirational females? The First Women Awards is the UK’s premium awards programme focused on senior-level business women and professionals. The awards are hosted by the CBI and Real Business, and are held in association with Lloyds Banking Group. Nominations are open until 10 April – enter now! http://firstwomen.co.uk/awards
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