25/02/2011

Few Women Filling Top NI Business Posts

News that lady directors account for only 12.5% of all those in UK businesses has been greeted with disappointment in NI - and a claim that only 4% of company bosses in NI are women.

"In a locally produced Top 100 companies for Northern Ireland, just four have a women at the helm," said Roseann Kelly, Chief Executive of Women in Business Northern Ireland, (pictured) as she responded to the research from Cranfield University.

It has highlighted a lack of female directors in Britain's top businesses, with women making up only 12.5% of directors if the FTSE 100 companies in 2010.

It showed that the FTSE 250 companies have even lower proportion of female directors at 7.8%, and nearly half of them do not have any women in the boardroom.

Launching his independent review into Women on Boards, Lord Davies of Abersoch said this week that he had recommended that FTSE 350 companies should be setting their own challenging targets and expects that many will achieve a much higher figure than this minimum.

He said they should be aiming for a minimum of 25% female board member representation by 2015, and also called upon the Financial Reporting Council to amend the UK Corporate Governance Code to require listed companies to establish a policy concerning boardroom diversity.
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Commenting on the report, Nl's Roseann Kelly, continued: "While we welcome this new Code of Conduct and the start of this process, we are disappointed that it was necessary to take these measures to allow women to gain the recognition they deserve.

"It is also disappointing to note that the target of a minimum of 25% female representation by 2015 on FTSE 100 boards was not more challenging, given that the expectation is that of a higher figure.

"Women account for approximately half of the population, yet they are grossly under-represented in the boardroom and in key company positions.

"We need to see an end of single gender boardrooms and recognise the experience and knowledge which women can contribute to any organisation.

"This is not about equality, it is a business case where boards including women are more profitable," she said.

"If you look at our parliamentary system, only 13% are women, the lowest figure across Europe - even Iraq has a higher percentage of women in Government," she said.

"Companies have been left to their own devices and now it is time to redress the boardroom balance in line with our European counterparts," the Women in Business Northern Ireland boss concluded.

See: Women Remain Minority In FTSE 100, Says Report

(BMcC)

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