Women’s minister urges top firms to appoint more female directors

Women’s minister Barbara Follett has called on the UK’s top companies to appoint more women to their boards, after new figures revealed only a slight increase in the number of female FTSE directors.

Initial findings from the 2008 Female FTSE report by Cranfield School of Management found only 12% of board directors were female. This is up 1% on last year, and up 5% better than 2002.

At this rate, the report said, it would be 2050 before there were equal numbers of men and women on company boards. One in four FTSE boards have no women on them at all.

Follett said: “We have made progress. But not fast enough, and many British boardrooms are still no-go areas for women. Women are significant consumers and this should be reflected on boards. The business case for this is clear more women can drive up efficiency, innovation, and profitability.”

Susan Vinnicombe, director of the International Centre for Women Leaders at Cranfield School of Management, said: “Although the increase is disappointing this year, there are some encouraging underlying shifts in the pipeline.”

The full 2008 Female FTSE report will be published on 20 November.

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