We have been producing an annual Female FTSE benchmarking report since 1999, which analyses the number of women directors on the corporate boards of the UK’s top 350 companies.
We have developed the business case for women on boards and made a number of recommendations on how to increase the number of women on corporate boards.
In July 2015, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the target of 25% of FTSE 100 board positions being filled by women, recommended by the Lord Davies Review in 2011, had been reached.
The report attracted considerable media attention with in-depth exclusive coverage by the Financial Times. The report launch was hosted at No 11 Downing Street at the offices of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 2004 and since then by chairmen of FTSE 100 companies.
- Funded by Barclays (major sponsor for the past five years). The Government and Opportunity Now (part of Business in the Community, a registered charity which stands for responsible business) also provide support.
Impact of our research
We are the recognised experts on gender diversity on corporate boards in the UK.
The most significant impact of our research in recent years has been through extensive contribution to the Lord Davies Report (Professor Susan Vinnicombe CBE was a member of the steering group) which, in 2011, recommended a target of 25% women on all FTSE 100 boards by 2015. In July 2015, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the target of 25% of FTSE 100 board positions being filled by women had been reached.
Each annual report contains the Female FTSE Index and the ‘100 Women to Watch’ supplement and attracts considerable media attention, most notably in the UK but also internationally. It also provides the data for the UK Office of National Statistics’ (ONS) Women on Boards figures.
Why the research was commissioned
In 1996, only 6.7% of those on the boards of FTSE 100 companies were women.
Although it was widely recognised that there was, and remains, a gender imbalance at senior management / leadership level, there was no information publicly available before 1999. Our annual Female FTSE benchmarking report was launched in this year to fill the void and provide a regular measure of the number of women directors on the corporate boards of the UK’s top 100 companies.
Since 2009, our report has also included a list of ‘100 Women to Watch’ who are ready for a board position and should be considered by search consultancies and nomination committees.
We have been measuring the number of women on boards since 1999. We have worked closely with government bodies such as BIS (Department of Business, Innovation and Skills) and GEO (Government Equalities Office), FTSE-listed companies and leading professional service firms, as well as organisations such as the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) and the FRC (Financial Reporting Council), on producing each report.
We again worked with Lord Davies on his closing report, launched in October 2015, which reviewed the progress his steering committee had made since 2011. It proposed a series of recommendations including a new target of all FTSE 350 boards having 33% female representation by 2020 and a review of the female executive pipeline.