BusinessCompany NewsBoards still lack female faces

Boards still lack female faces

A third of Britain's leading companies still has no women on their board, according to figures published today.

Link: Move to boost number of female executives

Progress has been made in many companies, but women are still under-represented in corporate Britain, reveals the Female FTSE Report 2004, published today by Cranfield School of Management and sponsored by the Department of Trade and Industry and Shell.

Trade secretary Patricia Hewitt welcomed the new research, which shows that almost one in five boardroom appointments went to women this year – up from one in 10 two years ago.

But she expressed concern that ‘we still have much further to go’.

‘It’s not about putting women on boards for the sake of it – we want companies to promote the best people for the job, but with almost a third of companies without a single woman on the board, my concern is that companies are not drawing from all the available talent,’ said Hewitt.

The government initiative to get rid of the image that Britain’s boardrooms are stuffed with men from the ‘old boys’ network’ has been welcomed by the Institute of Directors.

Hewitt today launched a best practice guide Building better boards, in association with the IoD, to further improve the diversity and effectiveness of boardrooms.

Patricia Peter, head of corporate governance at the IoD, said: ‘Ignoring those from diverse backgrounds denies a large pool of talent. In particular, boardroom Britain has to reflect the major contribution women are making in organisations at middle and senior management level.’

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