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A third of all FTSE 100 board members are now women, up from just 12.5 per cent less than a decade ago.
A third of all board positions in the UK’s FTSE 100 companies are now held by women – meaning a key target of the government-backed Hampton-Alexander review has been met almost one year early.
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom welcomed the “fantastic work” of the review in meeting this target, achieved on an entirely voluntary basis, without the need for legislation, fines or penalties.
However, figures from the review highlighted a concerning lack of female representation in senior leadership and key executive roles in FTSE companies – for example, just 15 per cent of FTSE 100 finance directors are women.
The review showed that further work is needed for many FTSE 100 companies individually, and for the FTSE 250 overall to meet the 33 per cent target, as it currently sits at 29.5 per cent.
"The Hampton-Alexander review has done fantastic work. But it’s clear that women continue to face barriers to success, whether that’s through promotion to key roles or how they are treated by colleagues," said Ms Leadsom.
"Businesses must do more to tackle these issues and we will support them in doing so, including through our world leading reforms to workplace rights," she added.
Research produced exclusively for the review by the Global Institute for Women Leadership at King’s College London also showed that women face everyday sexism in the workplace, with examples including higher reports of insults or angry outbursts directed at women compared with men.
"Where there are hostile workplace cultures, we simply can’t ask women to lean in and try harder to reach leadership positions," said Rosie Campbell, director of the Global Institute for Women Leadership, King’s College London.
"Instead we need to ensure undermining behaviour is called out, not rewarded, and build an inclusive environment that embraces diverse leaders and allows everyone to thrive and give their best work."
According to the government, the forthcoming employment bill will seek to better support women in the workplace, with measures including enhanced protections from pregnancy and maternity discrimination and, subject to consultation, making flexible working the default.