2nd October 2019

NEWS: FTSE 350 hits 30% women on boards for the first time

The historic milestone follows a long-running campaign by the 30% Club to reach a third female representation on FTSE boards


London, 2 October 2019 – The FTSE 350 can now demonstrate a third of board positions filled by women for the first time since the London Stock Exchange was established in 1571.


The latest figure is from the 30% Club, the global campaign with presence in 14 countries that encourages greater representation of women on boards, and shows the number now stands at 30%, with 903 female directorships held by women out of 3008 positions in total.


This is in stark contrast to female representation on boards when the 30% Club was founded, by Dame Helena Morrissey, in 2010. Then, only 12.5% of FTSE 100 boards and 9.5% of FTSE 350 boards were female.


For nine years, the 30% Club has implemented a collaborative, concerted business-led effort to help accelerate progress towards better gender balance at all levels of organisations.


In August 2016, the 30% Club wrote to FTSE 350 CEOs in a rallying cry to urge them to commit to setting an aspirational minimum target of 30% female representation on their senior leadership teams by 2020.


Brenda Trenowden CBE, Global Co-Chair of the 30% Club said:


“I am extremely proud that we can say 30% of FTSE 350 boards are now female. This is an incredible milestone on the journey towards greater diversity and gender parity on company boards. The fact that we’ve met our 2020 target ahead of time means the narrative is working.


“Through our engagement with our member Chairs and CEOs, we have seen senior leadership amongst the world’s largest companies evolve for the better, lifting gender representation from a mere 9.5% for the  FTSE350  in 2010, to a much healthier 30.01% in 2019. It’s taken almost ten years to get here and I’d like to congratulate each and every committed Chair and CEO for their ongoing hard work in addressing gender disparity at the very highest levels within their companies. Business leadership is key to our mission, taking the issue beyond a specialist diversity effort and integrating it into enterprise-wide strategy development.”


“Research has shown that more diverse boards contribute to better all-round business performance. The 30% Club believes that gender balance on boards and in senior management not only encourages better leadership and governance, but ultimately increases corporate performance for both companies and their shareholders”.


Ann Cairns, Global Co-Chair of 30% Club, added:


“When the 30% Club was established in 2010, the goal was to reach 30% female representation as a very minimum. 30% is the number at which a minority group starts to become heard and considered – that target is our floor, not our ceiling.  With only 13 female CEO’s in the FTSE 350 it is clear there is much work to be done.


“Over the last decade there has been a widescale renaissance of our board structure, both in the UK and internationally, and we think this will snowball from here.  From here we will continue to champion those boards who display great diversity, and question those who remain stubbornly in the 20th Century with their all-male boards or their ‘one and done’ attitude to female representation. Business in this day and age has changed – power lies with stakeholders who now represent all genders, ethnicities, religions, abilities and inclinations – and any company who cannot recognise that will fail to compete in the long run. I look forward to spending the next ten years building upon our achievements so far.”


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