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Britain has less than a third of females on boards — trailing behind France

Lianna Brinded
Head of Yahoo Finance UK
Photo: Reuters

Women make up just 29.8% of UK company boards and only has six CEOs in the FTSE 100. That number is also set to drop after Veronique Laury, the CEO of the the DIY giant Kingfisher announced she was stepping down.

However, she is stepping down as leader of the £5.15bn ($6.8bn) group, which owns the UK’s B&Q and Screwfix and French 

That’s according to the data crunched by global advocacy group INvolve, which analysed major indexes across Europe and the US. The figures show that the UK is trailing behind France, which leads female representation on boards at 40% and women as CEOs at 9.2%.

“This data highlights how far the UK still has to go to ensure equality for women in the workplace. Organisations must start to recognise the clear social responsibility and business case for female inclusion,” said Suki Sandhu OBE, Founder & CEO of INvolve.

The UK is still ahead of the likes of the US and Germany. Only 26.1% of women account for sitting on boards in the S&P 100 while Germany only has 25.7%. Germany doesn’t even claim a single woman as a CEO in its top 90 companies (DAX and MDAX).

Table: INvolve

“Part of the reason behind France leading the way is from a direct decision taken by the French government to mandate that representation of women should account for at least 40% of all CAC 40 boards by the end of 2017,” said Alexandra Evreinoff, head of international development, INvolve.

“This included financial sanctions for those who failed to match this. Yet in England, the current unmandated target for FTSE 100 companies to reach by 2020 is only 33%. Once again highlighting the work that needs to be done in the UK to promote more female role models.”

Table: INvolve

INvolve conducted the research as part of its ongoing focus to improve female representation in business. The group said that on average women earn 20% less than men and the gender-based workplace discrimination costs the UK economy up to £123bn in lost output, citing figures from a report it launched in February.

INvolve is calling for more women to be nominated for the HERoes Women Role Model Lists 2019 celebrating 100 Women Executives “who are empowering and elevating others as they rise through the ranks.”

You can nominate them here.