Only three in 10 UK board seats are held by women

UK is behind six other European countries, New Zealand and South Africa when it comes to gender parity on boards, according to new figures.

A woman in a suite stands by a boardoom table with a city backdrop behind her


Just 30.1% of board seats in the UK are held by women, compared with 43.2% in France, 42.4% in Norway and 36.3% in Italy, according to analysis by Deloitte and campaign group the 30% Club.

Although the UK improved its global ranking in regard to gender diversity, moving from 13th to 9th since the 2019 edition of the report, it is behind six European countries as well as New Zealand and South Africa.

The study also shows that in 2010, women accounted for just 12% of FTSE 100 boards. but this has now grown to 36.2%. However, there are only 15 women board chairs in the FTSE 100 and eight chief executives, an increase of just one since 2019.

The average tenure for women on boards in the UK has fallen from 4.1 years to 3.6 years since 2019. Globally, just 19.7% of boardroom seats are held by women, a 2.8% increase since 2019.

Jackie Henry, a managing partner at Deloitte, said UK businesses “need to be even more proactive in taking diversity targets seriously, improving disclosure and more transparent reporting.”

Meanwhile, Co-op shop floor workers have won a key legal argument in a battle to secure equal pay with warehouse staff, with Co-op having conceded a “comparability concession,” a step towards recognising that different roles are of equal value.

More than 1,600 mostly female supermarket workers have been fighting for pay parity with mostly male staff at distribution centres who are paid up to £3 an hour more. Tom Hewitt of solicitors Leigh Day, which is representing the workers, said Co-op shop floor workers had now “cleared the first hurdle in their claims for equal pay”.

And City banker Stacey Macken has been awarded more than £2m for sexual discrimination that included drunken male colleagues leaving a witch’s hat on her desk and a boss belittling her by repeatedly saying “not now, Stacey” when she tried to speak to him.

Macken sued the City office of BNP Paribas and told an employment tribunal that over four years she received hundreds of thousands of pounds less than her male peers in salary and bonuses. She said that when she raised the issue of the pay disparity, managers targeted her with unfair treatment.

The tribunal ordered that Macken should be paid £2,081,449 in damages. A spokesperson for the bank said: “We at BNP Paribas understand that we fell short in our duty to Ms Macken”. They added: “We are pleased that the tribunal recognised the seriousness with which we have taken its findings and the major steps forward we have made to try to ensure that nothing like this happens again.”

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