The second annual review – following the 2011 Davies Review of Women on Boards - tracking progress in increasing the number of women on FTSE 350 company boards was published on 10 April 2013 and can be read here.
BIS press release of 30 January 2013 here. Excerpt:
“I do recognise that for some businesses, like those in the mining and extractives industry in particular, there are unique challenges in diversifying their boards with the right experience. The frequent travel and project based work in remote areas of the world have all been cited as barriers to appointing more women in the past. However, successful modern companies learn to adapt and survive and doing nothing is not an option anymore.”
30% Club press release of 13 December 2012:
“The 30% Club has been working on a new initiative to improve the number of women partners in UK professional services firms. A group of ten law firms and seven accountancy/consultancy firms, most of whose managing partners are members of the 30% Club, participated in a 10 week project, co-ordinated by the 30% Club and facilitated by McKinsey and Company. The purpose of the initiative was to examine why, notwithstanding the efforts of individual firms to date, progress remains limited as to the numbers of women partners in professional services firms, and suggest ideas for firms to explore to accelerate the pace of change. Key components of the initiative included interviews with senior leadership and HR managers, the provision of quantitative data on pipeline and talent processes and the participation by over 700 fee-earners in an online feedback survey, results of which were analysed on an anonymised and aggregated basis.
A key finding was that attrition was not the root cause of lack of women in partnership, nor prioritisation, with 80 per cent of firms having diversity as a strategic priority and an array of efforts being undertaken by individual firms. Rather it appeared the issue stems from inconsistent commitment to diversity at all levels in firms, questions around the partner promotion process which both men and women believe may not evaluate ability and different leadership styles in a way that furthers equality, and differences between men and women’s perceptions of being a partner and the process towards promotion. Ideas to address the challenges include embedding greater accountability for progress amongst all partners and effecting a shift from a diversity strategy focussed on women to a “talent” strategy, with a particular emphasis on sponsorship. An increased scrutiny of critical systems, such as work allocation and annual evaluation is also suggested, to ensure fairness of allocation and attribution of value to outputs in a broader range of ways. Continued collaboration and engagement with key stakeholders, including the client community, are also key, with a commitment made by these firms to reconvene to review progress on a regular basis going forward.”
Women on boards: EU publishes draft directive on “improving the gender balance” among companies listed on regulated markets; sets 2020 target for 40% of NEDs to be women
The European Commission has today published a draft directive on “improving the gender balance among non-executive directors of companies listed on stock exchanges and related measures”. The headline proposal is the setting of an objective for a 40% presence of women among non-executive directors of companies listed on EU regulated markets, to be met by 2020.
This is a target, not a mandatory quota. The directive does encourage an element of positive discrimination in favour of appointing women if all other criteria for the position are met equally by candidates; see the extract from the directive below.
From the draft directive:
The discussion scheduled for today at the European Commission around the Justice Commissioner’s proposed gender directive on mandatory quotas for women on boards has been postponed until later in 2012, as a Commission spokesman explained on Twitter:
More detail from EurActive here.