Corporate code is progress on diversity and equality, says expertA new corporate code trying to promote greater gender and ethnic equality has been welcomed by a UK women’s business group.

Toni Eastwood, a training manager for everywoman, responded to new guidelines published by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) governing how top FTSE companies go about hiring senior figures, including asking firms to show "due regards" for equality and diversity during the process.

She pointed to the fact that fewer women occupied boardroom roles with FTSE 250 organisations in 2009 compared with previous years and is described as "a trend that can be seen throughout British business".

The expert welcomed the introduction of the FRC’s code of conduct and hoped to further the subject across Europe.

However, she indicated that a new ruling in Norway stipulating that 40 per cent of any boardroom must include female representation is a good example of how to address the issue and added that greater gender equality is "proven to benefit the bottom line for businesses".

By Cameron Thomson