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Women on boards

In February 2011 the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) published an independent review into female representation on UK corporate boards by Lord Davies of Abersoch.


  • The review
  • Online articles
  • Useful links
  • See also: related items

The review

Women on boards - February 2011
The review was first announced by BIS in August 2010, when the department issued a press release announcing that Lord Davies had been asked to build on the work carried out by Professor Laura Tyson in her 2003 report.

Lord Davies' review was subsequently published by BIS on 24 February 2011, as announced in the press release FTSE 100 companies should aim for 25% women board members – Lord Davies recommends.

The review's recommendations include that FTSE 100 companies should be aiming for a minimum of 25% female board member representation by 2015; quoted companies should disclose annually the proportion of women on the board, in senior executive positions and in the whole organisation; and the UK Corporate Governance Code should be amended by the FRC to require listed companies to establish a policy concerning boardroom diversity.

Since the original review the follow-up reports have been published:

Online articles

The Library provides access to leading business, finance and management journals. These journals are available to logged-in ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users subject to suppliers' terms of use.

UK failing on diversity, female financiers, reports say

Smaller companies in Britain's FTSE All-Share Index are lagging behind their larger peers when it comes to having diverse representation on their boards, according to a report by Women on Boards UK.

Are the UK's corporate leaders sexist? Some FTSE 350 bosses give 'appalling excuses' for not hiring women to the board.

The article highlights the findings of Hampton-Alexander Review, the government-backed, business-led body that's attempting to increase the proportion of women on boards to one third by 2020, about corporate excuses' for not hiring women to the board. Several excuses found in the review includes women's abilities to deal with pressure of sitting on the board, reduced number of women with the right credentials and depth of experience.

Boardroom diversity barometer

The article presents the results of the survey on the most admired companies in Great Britain. It states that the number of priority was the expertise followed by experience and creative thinking. It notes that religion was considered the least important of the qualities. It mentions that the views of boardroom diversity is changing.

Women at the top

The Davies report succeeded in putting the issue of women on boards centre stage, but four years on women still hold only 8.6% of executive directorships.

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Useful links

Female FTSE Index
Cranfield School of Management's annual FTSE benchmarking report. Includes of an archive of previous reports dating back to 2005.

FTSE women leaders: Hampton-Alexander review
Reports of the Hampton-Alexander review into increasing the number of women in senior positions in FTSE 350 companies.

Breaking the boardroom: A guide for British businesses on how to support the female leaders of the future
A January 2015 practical guide from O2 and the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD), looking at how far British businesses have progressed towards Lord Davies' 25% women on boards target. The guide gives tips on how to achieve long-lasting cultural change through leadership programmes. 

Women on boards: Six months monitoring report 
Interim report by the Cranfield International Centre for Women Leaders published in October 2011 which analyses the progress in improving UK boardroom diversity following the Davies report.

Feedback statement: Gender diversity on boards 
In October 2011 the FRC announced its decision to amend the UK Corporate Governance Code to strengthen the principle on boardroom diversity which was first introduced into the Code in June 2010. The statement summarises the main points from the consultation responses, the decisions taken by the FRC and the reasons for those decisions.
The changes 'will be incorporated in an updated version of the Code to be published in 2012, following consultation on proposed changes to other parts of the Code, which will apply to financial years beginning on or after 1 October 2012', although the FRC strongly encourages early adoption of its recommendations.

Gender diversity on boards
Consultation paper published by the FRC in May 2011 which invites views on whether the UK Corporate Governance Code should be revised in order to help achieve more diverse and effective boards. The consultation document was announced in the press release Financial Reporting Council consults on boardroom diversity on 5 May 2011.

Increasing diversity on public and private sector boards: Part 1 - How diverse are boards and why?
Increasing diversity on public and private sector boards: Part 2 - What is being done to improve diversity on boards and how effective is this?
Research produced in 2009 by Cranfield School of Management for the Government Equalities Office, on diversity on boards of directors in the public and private sector. Examines why are there so few women and other under-represented groups on boards and what is being done to increase diversity.

Building better boards 
Document published in 2004 by the then Department of Trade and Industry with recommendations for improvements and information relevant to creating more diverse and effective boards.

See also

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