Following on from the official review of the high profile Davies Report regarding women on boards earlier this year, Kerren Daly, partner in the Employment and Pensions team at DWF, provides an analysis of gender imbalance on corporate boards and how it is being tackled.

Women now make up 16.7 per cent of FTSE 100 Boards, up from 12.5 per cent in 2010. While this shows real progress towards the Government’s target of having 25 per cent female directors by 2015, many people consider that the progress in appointing women to senior executive posts is still too slow, and that those appointments that have been made surmount only to a token gesture.

It is therefore clear that gender imbalance on corporate boards continues to be an important challenge to the HR sector, and Kerren explores the key issues surrounding the under representation of women on boards and the measures that might be put in place. This includes:

  • Factors that may explain the problem of under representation – lack of flexible working opportunities and work/ life balance, few role models, the old boys’ network
  • Additional actions that should be taken to address the issue
  • Whether a voluntary approach is effective or whether the UK should join other countries that use quotas
  • Whether or not targets should be binding
  • Whether there is an argument for different targets across the industry sectors