News story

Campaign for more women on boards hits major milestone

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

More than 50 company chairmen have joined the drive to improve the number of women on boards.

The influential bosses announced they are backing the 30% Club campaign for diversity in the same week that the number of women on FTSE 100 boards climbed to 16.7%.

Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Theresa May - who has led calls for change - joined celebrations last night as the 30% Club hit their half century.

She said: ‘I’m delighted to help the 30% Club celebrate this significant milestone. The fact that over 50 chairmen are now supporting this initiative shows that diversity in the boardroom is increasingly becoming a mainstream idea.

‘More women on a company’s board is not just good for society; it’s also good for that company’s bottom line. An ever-growing number of businesses are realising this and - voluntarily - taking action.

‘There is still a long way to go, but it’s heartening to see the enthusiasm with which so many companies are embracing change and putting women at the heart of our economic future.’

Women’s Business Council

The Home Secretary championed a business-led approach to more diverse boardrooms, and the latest figures show the government is on track to meet Lord Davies’ target of 25% representation by 2015.

Theresa May also set up an independent Women’s Business Council who are exploring ways to make the most of female talent before reporting back next year. Wendy Hallett, whose company Hallett Retail has 1,300 concessions in major shops and department stores, has become the latest expert to join after original member Connie Parry was forced to pull out by business commitments.

Fashion entrepreneur Wendy took her place on the Women’s Business Council as they met for the second time this week.

They considered evidence on the lifecycle of women at work to focus their thinking on the issues which affect women’s economic participation.  Working groups will agree which of these issues are most important for promoting economic growth over the coming months.