The 30% Club’s latest monthly statistics on female representation across FTSE 350 companies brought some encouraging news – as of February 2021, there were no all-male boards in the top UK 350.
Women now occupy a total of 34% of board seats in the FTSE 350. Whilst this clearly shows that things are moving in the right direction, there is still a long way to go. This the second disappearance of all-male boards in the history of the London Stock Exchange. The previous disappearance in May 2020 lasted only one month! This prompted Ann Cairns, the chair of the 30% Club, to comment on the delicate nature of gender diversity on corporate boards, confirming that more work is required to prevent all-male boards from re-emerging.
Across the FTSE 350, there were 39 female chairs, 89 female Senior Independent Directors (SIDs) and 17 female CEOs. The FTSE 100 statistics showed 11 female chairs, 23 female SIDs and 8 female CEOs.
In addition, on 24 February 2021 the Hampton-Alexander Review published its fifth and final annual report on improving gender balance in FTSE leadership. The report states that, as at 11 January 2021:
- women held 36.2% of FTSE 100 board positions (up from 32.4% in 2019), but 32 FTSE 100 companies had not yet achieved the 33% target; and
- women held 33.2% of FTSE 250 board positions (up from 29.6%), but 139 FTSE 250 companies had not yet achieved the 33% target.
Given the transient nature of the composition of boards, we will have to continue to watch this space.