Cranfield Report - women on FTSE 100 boards

Just looking at the news story about the increase in FTSE 100 women board members.

Any rise in the number of women on boards is welcome, but these figures need unpicking. The rise is actually pretty small – and more worryingly, it’s plateauing. 5 interesting facts from the report are:

1. 21 of the FTSE 100 companies have no female board members at all.

2. The report breaks down the statistics into executive directors (EDs) and non-executive directors (NEDs). Only 5.5% of EDs are women. This is important because NEDs are outside directors who are not involved in the day-to-day running of a business.

3. There is no link between size of the board and gender diversity.

4. 11 of the top 12 FTSE 100 companies have at least 3 female directors – indicating that having a higher proportion of women on the board is linked to corporate success!

5, The FTSE 100 is doing better than the FTSE 250, where more than half of companies have no women on their boards.

The report recommends strengthening the policy of 'Comply or Explain'. Any chairman of a FTSE 350 company with less than 20% women on the board and executive committees must explain why in the annual reports.

The government’s diversity champion Lord Davies said last week that imposing quotas for female board members would be “a mistake”. Instead he says CEOs have to change their culture and approach to women.

I agree that cultural change is absolutely key to achieving real equality. But without targets and quotas what obligation is there on a company to change?

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