More women on boards, but not in the roles with real power

A tick box exercise? The number of women on boards has risen to a record high, but they are not holding executive positions, says a new report on the FTSE 350.

by Kate Magee
Women on boards
Women on boards

The number of women on corporate boards in the FTSE 350 has risen to record levels, but they are still not securing the executive roles that have the real power, says Cranfield School of Management's Female FTSE Board Report 2021, which was released today. 

The report, an annual analysis of the progress of women directors on FTSE 350 corporate boards, found that the percentage of female non-executive directors (NEDS) on FTSE 100 boards has hit an all time high at 44% (it was 41% in the 2020 report). In the FTSE 250, this figure was 41%. 
 
But the percentage of female executive directors has flatlined for a second year at 13.7% (11.3% for the FTSE 250) and the percentage of women holding the chair positions on FTSE 100 boards is just 14%. 

Only 27 companies in the FTSE 100 and 45 in the FTSE 250 had a female executive director. Of the 31 women holding executive roles in the FTSE 100, 8 are CEOs and 15 are chief financial officers or finance directors. 

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