November 25 2003 - This year's Female FTSE Index shows that,
for the first time, there are more than 100 female directorships in the FTSE 100.
Launched by Cranfield School of Management's Centre for Developing Women Business Leaders, the new research indicates growing numbers of women
at the top of Britain's biggest businesses.
AstraZeneca and Marks and Spencer now
have four female directors and women make up one third of their
boards. Another nine companies have 20-30% female representation on
their boards, a steady increase since 1999 when the Female FTSE Index
Professor Vinnicombe, Director of the Centre for Developing Women
Business Leaders, said:
"The increase in the number of women directors this year is very
positive. What is particularly pleasing is that 22 companies now have
multiple women on their boards. These women can now be seen as
individuals as opposed to "the token woman".
* The number of female directorships (101) is up by 20% in 2003, compared with 84 in 2002.
* 18 (90%) of the top 20 companies by market capitalisation have
women directors this year. This compares with only 8 (40%) of the bottom
20 companies by market capitalisation.
* 32 top companies still have no women directors at all.
* Onethird of women directors have titles (Baroness, Dame, Prof, Dr)
compared to a fifth of male directors. It appears that 'branding' is
more important for female than male directors.
* The number of female executive directorships has increased from 15 to
* There is still only one female CEO (Marjorie Scardino of Pearson)
and one female Chairman (Baroness Hogg of 3i).
Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Patricia Hewitt commented:
"It is obviously good news that more boards are taking on female
directors and drawing on the pool of talent available to them, but
this report shows that there is still much more to be done.
"Women have trouble breaking into the boardroom in some companies,
and even this year just 1 in 12 of FTSE 100 directors are women.
That's not representative of their staff or their customers. Research
shows that companies with a good mix at the top have better corporate
governance records, and tend to be at the top in terms of market
"The best businesses are definitely realising that diversity in the
boardroom goes hand in hand with good corporate governance, better
customer relations, and, ultimately, is beneficial to the bottom
line. Now the rest need to learn from the best."
Sir Philip Watts of Shell said:
"Shell's third-place in the Female FTSE 100 Index shows the progress
we have made in a challenging industry. Diversity is part of running
a good business. Shareholders, our customers and staff expect the
business community to improve its diversity".
Dr. Val Singh, co-author of the report, said:
"The increase of all these statistics is encouraging, and it is great
that so many top companies are doing "the bright thing" in terms of
gender diversity on boards. But there is still much to do to identify
and deal with the barriers for women in middle management, the next
generation of women business leaders.
"So many companies seem surprised that high-flying women leave or
stagnate in mid-career. More research is needed to understand this
phenomenon, and what employers can do to retain and develop the women
to full potential, to the advantage of the women, the organisation
and the future talent pool for director appointments."