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Prime minister calls for targets for women on boards

Prime minister David Cameron yesterday challenged more businesses to pledge to increase the number of women in senior positions, after a new report said 33 FTSE 100 companies have set targets for women on their boards.

The six month progress report on Lord Davies’ review of women on boards in February found that 61 of the FTSE 100 companies had responded to the review, acknowledging that gender diversity is an issue. But only 22.5% of board appointments made since the report’s publication have been made to women — short of the 33% recommended by Davies.

Lord Davies’ review recommended that the FTSE 100 should be aiming for a minimum of 25% female board representation by 2015 and that the FTSE 350 should also be setting targets. He also called on chairmen to announce their goals and said companies should disclose the number of women sitting on their boards and working in an organisation.

“Diverse organisations reflect their customers better, understand them better and offer better products and services as a result,” said business secretary Vince Cable.

Consultant Atkins recently pledged to increase the percentage of women on its board from the current 22% to 33% by 2015.

  • Former business lobby group CBI president Dame Helen Alexander will lead a discussion on women in the boardroom at the NCE Infrastructure Show on 18 October.

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