April 12, 2013 - Rachel Miller

Rise in number of women in the boardroom

There are more women on FTSE 250 company boards than ever before, and the UK is on track to meet the target of 25% set by Lord Davies of Abersoch in his 2011 review.

Two years on, Lord Davies has published a progress report showing that among FTSE 100 companies the proportion of women board directors has gone up from 10.5% in 2010 to 17.3% today. Within the FTSE 250, the proportion of women directors has risen from 6.7% to 13.2%.

That means there are now 192 women directors on FTSE 100 boards out of a total of 1,110. But there is still work to be done – within the FTSE 250, 67 boards still have no female representation at all.

Lord Davies said: "We are now moving to a place where it is unacceptable for the voice of women to be absent from the boardroom. The onus was firmly placed on business to bring about this necessary change, and I am pleased to say that evidence clearly shows that they have, and are, stepping up and responding. This has never been a hard sell. Companies see that having more women at their top table makes good business sense."

Minister for women and equalities, Maria Miller, said: "There is much more work to do. The priority now is to maintain that momentum, not only within listed companies but across the economy as a whole. Our equalities agenda isn't solely about women in the boardroom. It's also about unlocking the untapped potential of women at all levels in the workforce, getting more women into work, priming the talent pipeline and bringing sustained benefit to the British economy in the longer term."

Business secretary Vince Cable said: "Government continues to believe that a voluntary-led approach is the best way forward. But today's report also serves as a timely reminder to business that quotas are still a real possibility if we do not meet the 25% target of women on boards of FTSE 100 companies by 2015."