Women execs splinter rather than shatter the glass ceiling

The recent decline in the number of women directors on the board at FTSE 100
companies was reversed last year, according to the latest research.

However, the study by the Cranfield School of Management’s Centre for Developing
Women Business Leaders, also reveals that female board members are still a very
small minority at the UK’s biggest companies.

Figures show that 39 of the 100 top companies still do not have any women
directors – and they only represent a small percentage in many of those
companies.

The research reveals that after two years of falling numbers, women now make
up 7.25 percent of all FTSE 100 board directors, following an increase to 75 in
2002 from 68 in 2001. The number of women executive directors also increased
this year from 10 to 15.

"The increase in the number of female executive directors is
particularly pleasing," said Susan Vinnicombe, director of the Cranfield
centre and the report’s co-author. If the current trend continues, gender parity
on corporate boards could be reached in seven years, she predicted.

The fact that nearly 40 per cent of the top FTSE 100 companies still do not
have any women represented on the board, including Personnel Today’s parent
company Reed Elsevier, drew sharp criticism from MP Harriet Harman. "The
situation is not good. There should be no all-male boards," she told the
report’s launch at a Women in Leadership summit hosted by the Institute of
Directors.

The research shows that 32 per cent of the women directors are non-UK
citizens.

By DeeDee Doke

www.som.cranfield.ac.uk/som/news

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