FTSE 100: 66 women short of a boardroom target

Oct 09, 2013
<p>Proportion of women on boards rises to 19 percent&nbsp;</p>

Women made up 19 percent of the directors on boards of the UK’s FTSE 100 on October 1, rising from 17.4 percent in May this year and just 12.5 percent in 2011, according to the latest data from the Professional Boards Forum (PBF).

Vince Cable, the UK business secretary, welcomed the progress that had been made, saying he is ‘confident’ firms could ‘get over the finish line’ and meet the government’s target to see women hold 25 percent of FTSE 100 board seats by 2015. Another 66 female directors are needed if the target set by Lord Davies is to be met.

According to the PBF data, 31 FTSE 100 companies have at least 25 percent female directors, while 13 companies have 30 percent or more.

A quarter of all new board appointments since March this year have been women, says the PBF. But while the overall proportion of female non-executive directors has climbed to almost 24 percent from 15.4 percent in 2011, the number of women executives sits at just 6.1 percent – an increase of only 0.6 percentage points since Lord Davies published his initial report in February 2011.

Cable says the progress that has been made so far is ‘encouraging,’ but adds that ‘appointing more women as non-executive directors is not an end in itself’.

The number of all-male boards in the FTSE 100 has dropped from 21 in February 2011 to a low of five in May this year. As at October 1, however, six FTSE 100 companies had no female directors.

‘This is no time to get complacent and think the job is nearly done,’ says Lord Davies in a press release from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. ‘We still have a long way to go but at least these numbers are moving in the right direction after stalling earlier in the year.’

The PBF’s FTSE 250 figures show that almost 15 percent of directors are now women, up from 7.8 percent in 2011 – of which 18.6 percent are non-executives. Women now sit on 199 FTSE 250 boards, with 41 firms boasting at least 25 percent female director representation, and 19 companies having at least 30 percent.

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