Government calls for firms to report action taken to create more women directors

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Companies may be required to report on their progress to get more women into the boardroom, under proposals announced this week. It comes as new research shows that sixty per cent of people think there are not enough women directors in big businesses.

The survey which has been commissioned by the Government Equalities Office for International Women’s Day shows that half believe there will be equal numbers of men and women directors within the next 20 years. However, the reality is that it will take 60 years for women to gain equal representation on the boards of the top 100 companies at the current rate of progress.

The Government has today asked the Financial Reporting Council to consider including a new principle in its code of conduct (UK Corporate Governance Code) to require firms to report on what they’re doing to increase the number of women in senior management positions. This builds on the Equality Bill which will allow firms to choose to use positive action to appoint more women to senior roles.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said:
“A new principle in the governance code on diversity would build on the provisions in the equality bill, which allow employers to take positive action when recruiting to balance their workforce.

“But if we do not see a dramatic change in the composition of company boards in the future, we will need to consider taking more serious action to ensure companies recruit from the diverse pool of exceptional talent we have in the UK.”

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