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Nearly half of FTSE 250 boards still have no women

Nearly half of FTSE 250 boards still have no women

'Encouraging' progress so far, but still some way to go

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Despite quota targets set by Lord Davies earlier this year to increase the number of women on boards, nearly half of the FTSE 250 companies still have all-male boards, according to a progress report.

In February, former trade minister Lord Mervyn Davies of Abersoch carried out an independent review, Women on Boards, which recommended that chairmen of FTSE 350 companies set goals for increasing the proportion of women in the boardrooms by September. He suggested a minimum figure of 25 percent.

In last weeks’ progress update, Lord Davies said that although many companies have been making “very encouraging progress”, with industry initiatives such as the Executive Search Agency Code and the 30% Club, there is still some way to go.

“The rate of female appointments since March is still well below the 25 percent target that my panel has set, with 47 percent of all FTSE 250 companies continuing to have all male-male boards.

“There is more work to be done and the panel will be reconvening in the autumn to assess progress and agree next steps,” Lord Davies said.

In July, business secretary Vince Cable and home secretary Theresa May wrote to FTSE 350 companies to remind them that they needed to set targets for increasing the number of women in boardrooms.

The MPs backed Lord Davies’ review, stating that inclusive and diverse boards are more likely to be “better” boards, benefitting from fresh perspectives.

According to BoardWatch data, women now make up nearly 14 percent of directors in the FTSE 100, up from 12.5 percent in February 2010. In addition, 23 percent of board appointments since 1 March 2011 have been women. There are now only 14 all-male boards in the FTSE 100, down from 21 in February 2010.

Meanwhile, women now make up 8.8 percent of directors in the FTSE 250, up from 7.8 percent in February 2010. Again, 23 percent of board appointments since 1 March this year have been women.

In terms of other initiatives to increase the number of women in boardrooms, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) will also launch a consultation on narrative reporting later this year to consider ways of getting organisations to disclose the numbers of women they employ at different levels of the business.

Lord Davies will reconvene his steering board to assess the progress of companies’ adoption of his targets on 21 October.

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