A piece by Tabby Kinder in today’s Times. I’ve made a number of comments, and posted to links to materials including William Collins’s celebrated piece on gender bias in prison sentencing – here. I urge you to post some comments if you have an interest in this issue. Thanks.
Britain’s 350 biggest companies are likely to miss a government-backed target that says a third of board positions should be held by women by 2020.
Women represent just 25.5 per cent of directors in FTSE 350 companies, according to the Hampton-Alexander review, which was launched by the government in 2016 to increase gender diversity. To meet the target, 40 per cent of all appointments made in the next two years would need to go to women.
Rachel Reeves, chairwoman of the business, energy and industrial strategy committee, accused British companies of moving at a “snail’s pace” and called on investors to put more pressure on boards to improve diversity.
The Hampton-Alexander review has named and shamed ten companies that have no women on their boards, including Sports Direct International, Stobart Group and Herald Investment Trust.
“The inglorious ten companies who still have all-male boards need to drag themselves out of the dark ages and ensure they bring in a more diverse and valuable perspective to the running of their businesses rather than running a closed club of the old boys’ network,” Ms Reeves said.
Chris Cummings, chief executive of the Investment Association, said companies that did not attempt to increase diversity risked shareholder revolts.
The review published explanations that were given for not appointing women, including “they don’t fit in”, “they don’t want the hassle” and “all the good ones have already gone”. Andrew Griffiths, a business minister, said the findings were “pitiful”.
Women make up 29 per cent of FTSE 100 board positions, up from 12.5 per cent in 2011. They will meet the government’s target if progress over the next two years matches the appointments made in the last three years.
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