Third of board roles in top companies taken by women

Women occupy a third of board positions in FTSE 100 companies, nearly a year ahead of schedule, but many posts are for non-executive directors rather than key executive roles.

Boards

 

A third of all board positions in the UK’s FTSE 100 companies are now held by women, according to the government-backed Hampton-Alexander Review.

Although this is ahead of schedule, the figures show much of the increase in women on boards has come from non-executive directors and that there are few women in key executive roles such as finance director where just 15% of FTSE 100 posts are occupied by women. The Review also shows that further work is needed for many FTSE 100 companies individually and for the FTSE 250 overall to meet the 33% target where it currently sits at 29.5%.

Research produced exclusively for the Review by the Global Institute for Women Leadership at King’s College London also shows women facing everyday sexism in the workplace, with examples including higher reports of insults or angry outbursts directed at women compared to men.

Research by King’s College found that women in senior leadership positions continue to face everyday sexism and what researchers call ‘‘micro-aggressions’’ and ‘‘incivility’’ in the workplace.

King’s College surveyed almost 350 men and women at board or executive committee level and found that a third of women reported someone at work had made disrespectful or insulting remarks about them, compared to 13% of men; 23% of women reported that they had been shouted or sworn at by someone at work, compared to 16% of men; 34% of women reported someone at work had ignored or failed to speak to them or given them the “silent treatment”, compared to 23% of men; and 39% of women reported being targeted by angry outbursts or “temper tantrums” by someone at work, compared to 23% of men.

Professor Rosie Campbell, Director of the Global Institute for Women Leadership, King’s College London, said: “Where there are hostile workplace cultures, we simply can’t ask women to lean in and try harder to reach leadership positions.

“Instead we need to ensure undermining behaviour is called out, not rewarded, and build an inclusive environment that embraces diverse leaders and allows everyone to thrive and give their best work.”



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