Top female directorships increase 20 per cent in a year

The
number of female directorships in the FTSE 100 has topped 100 for the first
time.

New
research, launched by Cranfield School of Management’s Centre for Developing
Women Business Leaders, indicates growing numbers of women are running the UK’s
top businesses.

For
the first time two companies, AstraZeneca and Marks & Spencer, have four
female directors and women comprise a third of their boards. A further nine
companies have 20-30 per cent female representation on their boards, a steady
increase since 1999 when the Female FTSE Index was started.

Key
findings:


The number of female directorships is up by 20 per cent this year (101 female
directorships in 2003, up from 84 in 2002).


There are still 32 top companies with no women directors at all.


A third of women directors have titles such as baroness, dame, professor, and
so on) compared to a fifth of male directors. It seems that ‘branding’ is more
important for female than male directors.


The number of female executive directorships has gone up from 15 to 17.


There is still only one female chief executive (Marjorie Scardino of Pearson)
and one female chairperson (Baroness Hogg of 3i).

Speaking
about the findings, secretary of state for trade and industry Patricia Hewitt
said: "It is obviously good news that more boards are taking on female
directors and drawing on the pool of talent available, but this report shows
there is still much more to be done.

"Women
have trouble breaking into the boardroom in some companies, and even this year
just one in 12 of FTSE 100 directors are women. That’s not representative of
their staff or their customers. Research shows that companies with a good mix
at the top have better corporate governance records, and tend to be at the top
in terms of market capitalisation.

"The
best businesses are definitely realising that diversity in the boardroom goes
hand in hand with good corporate governance, better customer relations and,
ultimately, is beneficial to the bottom line. 
Now the rest need to learn from the best."

By Quentin Reade

Comments are closed.