Agents of Change 2020: Nominations open

A third of all boardroom positions in the FTSE 100 are now held by women. That's not good enough. Men need to join the battle for gender equality.

by Kate Bassett
Last Updated: 01 Apr 2020

Good news: a third of all boardroom positions at Britain’s biggest companies are now held by women. The target was set in the Hampton-Alexander review and has been hit a year early.

The latest report has found that 33 per cent of board seats at FTSE 100 companies are occupied by women, up from 12.5 per cent in 2011, when the initiative started. There are no longer any male-only boards.

It’s progress – but it’s still not good enough.

In the UK alone, reducing gender gaps in labour market participation, STEM qualifications and wages could add £55bn to the economy by 2030. 

“It’s shocking that in Britain today, women are more likely to enter the workforce with higher qualifications than men, but earn less per hour,” says Fiona Dawson, the global president of Mars Food and chair of the Women’s Business Council. “The pay gap increases sharply at the point couples have children – by the time their first child is aged 12, the average hourly wages of mothers are a third lower than those of fathers.”

If we want to see real change, the male leaders at the helm of UK plc need to challenge the status quo and push for parity. This isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing to do. Research from McKinsey shows that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity in their executive teams are 21 per cent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the bottom quartile.

We’ve teamed up with the Women’s Business Council for the fourth year to run the Agents of Change power list. Backed by UN Women UK, this campaign shines a light on the male role models who are tackling inequality at work by changing company cultures and shattering glass ceilings.

“Equality for women is progress for all,” says Simon Gallow, development director, UN Women UK. “To create long-term meaningful change, men must be part of the conversation – and the solution.”

To nominate yourself or a male colleague/boss for this year's power list, email by 20th April. The list will be published in Management Today in June 2020.

Image credit: Getty Images/linephoto


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