Quarter of board members at top companies 'should be female'


British FTSE-100 groups should set ‘radical’ targets to have more female directors by 2013 and to hit the one-in-four mark by 2015, said former trade minister Lord Davies.

Companies should announce their aims in the next six months, he added, but he did not call for quotas, unless voluntary measures failed. Lord Davies said: ‘Eighteen FTSE-100 companies have no female directors and nearly half of FTSE-250 companies do not have a woman in the boardroom.

‘Radical change is needed in the mindset of the business community if we are to implement the scale of change that is needed.’

He said his suggestions were not only about equal opportunities but also improving performance, adding: ‘There is growing evidence diverse boards are better boards.’

Lord Davies said women made up only 12.5 per cent of directors in FTSE-100 companies last year and 7.8 per cent in FTSE-250 businesses.

Confederation of British Industry president Helen Alexander said: ‘The lack of women at board level needs addressing urgently and the best way of achieving this is through companies reporting on their progress.’
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