FTSE 100 Companies See Record-High Percentage Of Female Board Members
1:25 pm, March 13th | by Amy Tennery
The number of women on the board of directors at FTSE 100 companies has climbed to 141, according to a new report on female directorships from the Cranfield School of Management released today. To be sure, the survey, which shows that 89 out of the 100 companies now have at least one female director, is reason to celebrate. Of course, considering that just 6.9 percent of board seats there were held by women in 1999, it was pretty darn near impossible for things not to improve.
(Chart via Cranfield.)
The report is particularly significant in light of Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding’s recent call for a legal mandate requiring more women on company boards across the European Union. Needless to say, the pressure to diversify boards — and quick — is on. And although Britain’s figures outpace the overall percentage of female board members across the EU (around 13.7 percent), it’s only just now catching up to the U.S. (our board members are around 15 percent female, according to one recent Forbes estimate).
But while Reding is less than optimistic that the EU will diversify on its own (she’s argued that it could take another four decades before women would account for 40 percent of boardroom spots there), the Cranfield report suggests that Britain is on pace to far exceed its fellow EU members. It predicts that women will account for 36.9 percent of FTSE 100 board members by 2020.
The overall outlook is bright, according to Home Secretary Theresa May, who penned the introduction to the report:
I am also pleased to see that the number of all male boards in the FTSE 100 has nearly halved. In the modern world, there can be no excuses for having a male-only board. That is why it is also encouraging to see that the majority of FTSE 250 companies have at least one woman on their board for the very first time.
You can download the full study here.